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Antoni Tàpies

Antoni Tàpies at 80

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About Antoni Tàpies

Antoni Tàpies (b. 1923, Barcelona; d. 2012, Barcelona) has for six decades refined a visual language inspired by a wide range of sources that coalesce into a complex fusion of materials, gestures, and symbols. His explorations of Surrealist imagery early in his career served as the foundation for an ongoing investigation of the nature of physical objects and their materiality. Tàpies’ work embodies his extensive personal experience and history, as well as that of his native Spain and specifically Catalonia. As Tàpies’ use of tangible materials for making art emphasize physical transformation, spiritual transformation is evoked through signs and symbols drawn from Eastern and Western cultures. Tàpies has participated in three Venice Biennale exhibitions (1952, 1954, 1958) prior to being selected to represent Spain at the 45th Venice Biennale in 1993, during which he was presented with the Biennale’s Award for Painting.

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Press Release

  • Antoni Tàpies at 80
    PaceWildenstein is pleased to present an exhibition of recent work by Antoni Tàpies, one of Europe’s foremost painters, on the occasion of his eightieth year. On view February 28 through March 29, 2003 at 32 East 57th Street in New York City, the exhibition includes approximately twenty new paintings on wood (2001-2) incorporating assemblage, collage, and mixed media such as ceramic, fabric, marble dust, and metal. A full color catalogue with an essay by art historian Barbara Rose accompanies the exhibition. Early in his career, Tàpies explored Surrealist techniques and began to develop his own visual language by using a combination of signs and symbols and investigating the nature of physical objects and their materiality. Barbara Rose states: “The essential act for Tàpies is not depiction or representation but the transformation of matter into spirit…This metaphysical transformation characterizes the duality and tension in Tàpies’ art…The purpose of art, then, is to alter and heighten consciousness, bringing us into contact in the most powerful way with reality, not as it is pictured but as it literally exists in time and space…In this series of recent paintings, one sees Tàpies in full possession of his powers.” Antoni Tàpies (b. 1923, Barcelona, Spain) first exhibited his work in 1950. Two years later he was invited to participate in the Carnegie Institute exhibition in Pittsburgh and has since been the subject of major solo exhibitions and retrospectives at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (1962 and 1995); Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1973); Nationalgalerie, Berlin (1974); Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo (1977); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (1990); Shirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt (1993); Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume, Paris (1994); Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover (1997); and Kunsthalle Krems, Austria (1998). Most recently, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid organized a retrospective (2000) of Tàpies’ work; the exhibition later traveled to Haus der Kunst in Munich. The recipient of numerous honors and prizes, Antoni Tàpies has been awarded the British Arts Council Prize at the International Graphics Exhibition (1974); the Ciutat de Barcelona Prize (1979); the Peace Prize by the United Nations Association in Spain (1984); and the Prix National de Peinture by the French Government (1985); and the Praemium Imperiale by the Artistic Association of Japan (1990). Tàpies participated in three Venice Biennali (1952,1954,1958) prior to being selected to represent Spain at the 45th Venice Biennale in 1993; that year he was given the Biennale’s Award for Painting. The artist’s work can be found in public museum collections throughout the United States and abroad including: the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; Fondation Maeght, Saint-Paul de Vence; Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona; IVAM Centro Julio González, Valencia; Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland; Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf; the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark; the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; MACBA, Museum of Contemporary Art, Barcelona; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt; and the Tate Gallery, London; among others. Antoni Tàpies currently works and lives in Spain.
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Barbara Rose

2003. PaceWildenstein

56 pages: 19 color illustrations; 10 x 9 inches



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