This exhibition commemorates the Velázquez Visual Arts Prize awarded to Antoni Tàpies (Barcelona, 1923-2012) in 2003 and is added to the exhibitions that the museum has dedicated to him in 1990 Antoni Tàpies. Extensiones de la realidad and in 2000, Tàpies en Silos. This time we present Tàpies’ work in ceramic, an artist best known for his pictorial role.
Tàpies began his first forays into the world of painting on his own. A long convalescence from a lung disease triggers his interest in the world of culture, especially in the history of philosophy, a subject that determines much of his artistic production. Tàpies starts studying law at the University of Barcelona, but abandons it in 1945 when he almost completely dedicates himself to painting.
His early works show a more expressionist and primitivist style, but they already show an interest in matter. The artist, considered a leader in Spanish Informalism, founded the Dau al Set group in 1948, along with Joan Brossa, Modest Ciuxart, Joan Ponç, Joan Josep Tharrats and Arnau Puig . Two years later, Tàpies presents his first solo exhibition in Barcelona and is awarded a scholarship from the French government to live temporarily in Paris.
Tàpies’ artistic language is defined during the Fifties by the use of textures and materials. Research often becomes an end in itself, which leads him to experiment with and explore all kinds of materials. The predominant trend is in his works is Abstraction, although there are direct allusions to the contemporary, as a way of finding a spirituality and an essential hidden universe, which gives his work a symbolic component, with elements that would repeat throughout his career.
This exhibition shows Tàpies’ incursion into the universe of ceramics. In 1981 he begins to experiment with different creative possibilities in baked clay at Hans Spinner’s ceramics workshop. The artist receives continual invitations to create ceramics at Maeght’s workshop in the French town of Saint-Paul-de-Vence. Tàpies is reluctant, until his friend, artist Eduardo Chillida strongly encourages him to do so. From then onwards Tàpies enthusiastically undertakes the production of shapes from this material to carry out his creations. As noted by specialist Lourdes Cirlot, Tàpies’ personal ceramics "show the artist's great ability to transform clay into something endowed with a special feeling of depth."
Fundación Caixa Galicia, Ferrol (April 29 - June 19, 2005)