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Gran díptic dels mitjons, 1987

Large Diptych of Socks

Paint, varnish, pencil and collage on canvas
225 x 601 cm

In works such as Gran díptic dels mitjons (Large Diptych of Socks, 1987) his sympathy for eastern art is clearly reflected. Not only have his brushstrokes become much more flowing and elegant, acquiring the appearance of a kind of calligraphy far-removed from the graffiti of the fifties and sixties, but also the work itself is conceived as a landscape of highly oriental characteristics. All things considered, and despite this new inflection in his art, which has become much more pictorial and often even more lyrical than in previous periods, he has not abandoned the elements which have always been intrinsic to his work, such as the defence of humility, the spiritualisation of lowliness, the constant transformation of elements. While Gran díptic dels mitjons (Large Diptych of Socks, 1987) reminds us of oriental landscapes, upon this same idyllic landscape he has superimposed an element as prosaic as a pair of socks. In this way, and just as Marcel Duchamp did with many of his ready-mades such as Pharmacie, to which he alludes when he writes at the top of his canvas “ACALAPOTECARI” (At the pharmacist’s), the Catalan artist has managed once again to break the false division of the world and life into two realities, one material and the other spiritual, so characteristic of western logocentrism.

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