Haus der Kunst
Prinzregentenstrasse 1
+ 49 8921127113 FAX + 49 8921127157
Antoni Tapies
dal 25/5/2000 al 13/8/2000
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Haus der Kunst


Antoni Tapies

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Antoni Tapies

Haus der Kunst, Munich

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A Retrospective.
In collaboration with the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid.

The retrospective organized by the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid is the most comprehensive exhibition of Antoni Tàpies' work to have ever been shown. With 90 works from public and private collections from throughout the world, it presents a survey of the artist's work from the mid-forties until today.

If one was to try to define Antoni Tàpies' contribution to the aesthetics of the 20th century with one term, one would have to refer to his particular treatment of texture and material, which lends his paintings the unmistakable character of a wall, Spanish: tapia. As Tàpies himself once wrote in an essay Communicacio sobre el mur, he early recognized the expressive richness that lies in this motif. Although the tapia, the wall, first blocks access and vision-the anti-Renaissance image par excellence--it is also a background for graffiti and the effects of the passing of time. Tàpies' image of the wall with its name tapia that was strikingly similar to his own, took on a magical character that was to be evident in all his paintings.

There is no formal analysis of the aesthetic possibilities of matter by Tàpies: he continually searches for its magical qualities and its potential to be transformed. It is not the walls' plasticity of texture or harmony of color that is of major importance, it is Tàpies' endeavor to depict the continuity of physical matter: the difference between an object and its substance becomes blurred. These paintings, these walls indicate a constantly changing and transmuting world, which the artist/alchemist has given a form at a particular chosen moment. Painting a picture enables Tàpies to extend himself, to tear down the walls that separate people from his environment. His almost obsessive use of the same few objects or motifs such as chairs, doors, windows, slippers and feet reflect the artist's desire to impart familiarity to the viewers and ready identification. The paintings often contain characteristic calligraphic signs and letters, especially crosses and the initials "A" and "T".

Tàpies' works demonstrate the artist's self-image of the shaman. Similar to an alchemist he is able to recognize materials, change substances, and give life a meaning. Many of his works are reminiscent of votive offerings from the Middle-Ages, which were to have healing effects when one placed them on various parts of the body.

The moment of the impossible is inherent to Tàpies' oeuvre. He often noted that art resembles a game, a trap, that the viewer must recognize and accept if it is to work. This may explain why Tàpies draws a cross or some other kind of linear mark on his finished canvas, annulling its "veracity". Although the exhibition was conceived as a retrospective, it focuses on this element of ambiguity and the impossible that dominates the Catalan artist's painting.

Tàpies balances between two different historical and cultural situations: his themes and obsessions, full of every-day elements such as rubbish, are closer to the generation which revolted against Abstract Expressionism; his aesthetic demands, however, are clearly related to existential currents of thought. His principle of repetition is in fact a constant questioning.

For Tàpies art has a ritual character, it must change our consciousness. In some of his writings he mentions that painting must open the eyes to different perspectives of the world, and introduce rules of conduct that give our lives more meaning and make our relationships to other human beings and nature more loving. This condition of "deep consciousness" can, according to the artist, only be acquired through education and especially through a ritual of execution and presentation--in other words, by reciting a series of pictures and objects. These may just be banal elements belonging directly to the world of the artist's life: a foot, a bed, a box, etc. According to the teachings of Zen Buddhism highly regarded by Tàpies, meaning is to be found in contemplative experience particularly in everyday life, and Nirvana, the state of absolute blessedness, blends with Samsara, the eternal cycle of birth, suffering, death and rebirth.

Always skeptical of a civilization that concentrates too much on Logos, Tàpies drew his inspiration from mystics. The artist pleads for a contemplative and transcendental aesthetic whereby humor, irony and play do not lose their importance.

This exhibition enables the visitor to trace the work of the artist from the beginning of his career-the first self-portraits and collages-to recent years (eg. Earth Picture, 1999, and Complement, 1990).

Haus der Kunst
Prinzregentenstrasse 1, 80538 Munich,
DE Germany
tel. 089-21127-0
fax 21 127-157

Opening hours
Daily 10.00 - 22.00

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dal 17/9/2015 al 13/2/2016

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