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Forma negra sobre quadrat gris, 1960

Black Form on Grey Square

Mixed media on canvas
162 x 162 cm

In theory, the “mural” character of matter painting permits a diversity of interpretations: the wall is a partition that denies access or prevents one from seeing beyond; it is also the wall that reflects the passing of time or the place where graffiti are written. But above all the wall is the alter ego of the artist, with which he identifies through his surname (in Catalan “tàpia” means wall), and through which Tàpies expresses his desire to break with the dualism characteristic of our society and merge with matter in a formless continuum.

The difference between El crit. Groc i violeta (The Cry. Yellow and Violet, 1953) and Forma negra sobre quadrat gris (Black Form on Grey Square, 1960) reveals this evolution to us, while works such as Terra i pintura (Earth and Paint, 1956) are intermediate points in that here the matter is not integrated into the canvas but placed on it.

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


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