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Creu de paper de diari, 1946-1947

Newsprint Cross

Paint, ink and collage on paper
40 x 31 cm

(...) On analysing Tàpies’ first collages, such as Creu de paper de diari (Newsprint Cross, 1946-47), we cannot search for its origins either in the papiers collés of Braque or Picasso, or in Schwitters’ Merz, but rather in the Symbolist movements of the end of the century. In this work we are confronted neither with a kind of composition based on Cubist planes, nor trompe l’oeil games. Neither do we find the alterations of meaning characteristic of Surrealism. On the contrary, we are faced with a kind of composition of Synthetist origin, more akin to the work of Mondrian or Kupka than to that of Picasso or Masson, to mention just a few examples.

From a Symbolist perspective, the cross represents the synthesis of everything material (horizontal) and spiritual (vertical), as well as its transcendence. The fact that in order to form the cross the artist deliberately chose the newspaper obituary section, and that together with newsprint he also used Manila paper, which looks like toilet paper, reinforces this character, since all this tells us of the transcendence of what is humble, of the spirituality of the material.

Extracts from Manuel J. Borja-Villel, “The Collection”, Fundació Antoni Tàpies (Barcelona: Fundació Antoni Tàpies, 1990)

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