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La barberia dels maleïts i dels elegits, 1950

The Barbershop of the Damned and the Chosen

Oil on canvas
97 x 130 cm

Together with a great number of works from this period, La barberia dels maleïts i dels elegits (The Barbershop of the Damned and the Chosen, 1950) anticipates the matter paintings in other aspects. In this particular case, we see that the human figure has been partially represented, revealing only one part of the body, corresponding to the left arm and shoulder. This makes these limbs acquire the appearance of votive offerings, a quality that was to be intensified in his work in the mid sixties in canvases such as Matèria en forma de peu (Matter in the Form of a Foot, 1965), and which he was to repeat in different forms throughout his career. This votive offering character is related to the desire on the part of Tàpies that his works should communicate something on not only the psychological but also on the physical level. It is as if, by the mere act of seeing or touching a painting, the observer should receive certain influences which would have positive repercussions on his vision of the world or on his human condition.

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

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