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Antoni Tàpies

On View
Nov 8, 2019–Jan 10, 2020

We're honored to present the gallery's first exhibition of works by Antoni Tàpies in Geneva. Organized in collaboration with the Tàpies Estate, the exhibition marks twenty-seven years of representation of the artist by Pace.

Exhibition Details

Antoni Tàpies
Nov 8, 2019 – Jan 10, 2020


Quai des Bergues 15-17

Above: Installation view, Antoni Tàpies, Nov 8, 2019 – Jan 10, 2020, Pace Gallery, Geneva © Fundació Antoni Tàpies / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VEGAP, Madrid
Press Release

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Installation view, Antoni Tàpies, Nov 8, 2019 – Jan 10, 2020, Pace Gallery, Geneva © Fundació Antoni Tàpies / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VEGAP, Madrid

Pace Gallery is honored to present the first exhibition in its Geneva gallery of works by Antoni Tàpies at Quai des Bergues, 15-17, from 8 November 2019 to 10 January 2020. The exhibition examines Tàpies’s central theme of transformation, both physical and spiritual, which he explores through the use of signs and symbols. Organized in collaboration with the estate of the artist, the exhibition marks twenty-seven years of representation of the artist by Pace and is the gallery’s tenth solo show of Tàpies works.

Over nearly seven decades, Tàpies—both artist and influential philosopher of art—created a prolific and singular body of work that redefined painting and the way colors and physicality are manifested through the medium, thereby influencing future generations of artists and fascinating curators and museums around the world. This notable legacy has been memorialized and expanded upon through the work of the Fundació Antoni Tàpies, which, along with the Fundació Joan Miró and Museu Picasso, completes the trio of museums representing Barcelona’s century of major contributions to painting and the development of 20th century art.


Antoni Tàpies, Colador i Tassa, 1998, mixed media and assemblage on wood, 68-7/8” x 78-3/4” (174.9 cm x 200 cm) © Fundació Antoni Tàpies / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VEGAP, Madrid

Works in the exhibition span two decades, ranging in date from 1990 to 2008, and include both paintings and works on paper, highlighting the artist’s constant experimentation with materials. Emblematic of this experimentation is Colador i Tassa (1998), a richly textured painting on wood comprised of both conventional painting materials as well as the everyday objects from which the work gets its name: a cup and a tea strainer. The piece was included in major museum retrospectives including Antoni Tàpies: Retrospective at the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (2004), which then traveled to the Museo de Arte de Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico (2005); the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (2005); and the Singapore Art Museum (2005). This painting was also included in From Within, presented at the Fundació Antoni Tàpies and, as a testament to the importance of Tàpies in Spain, at the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Barcelona (2013), an institution that only very rarely exhibits contemporary art. From Within later traveled to the Pérez Art Museum, Miami (2015).


Antoni Tàpies, Signes blaus, 2008, paint on paper, 11-11/16” x 8-1/4” (29.7 cm x 21 cm), framed, 20-5/8” x 17” x 1-1/2” (52.4 cm x 43.2 cm x 3.8 cm) © Fundació Antoni Tàpies / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VEGAP, Madrid

Tàpies refined a visual language inspired by a wide range of sources that coalesce into a complex fusion of materials, gestures, and symbols originating mainly from his native Catalonia and studies of Eastern and Western spiritual traditions. Symbols such as the “t” may reflect ideas of resistance, mystery and the unknown, or, more simply, may refer to the first letter of the artist’s name. These symbols are prevalent in Plat blanc (2008), Signes blaus (2008), and Petita sanguina III (2000) in the exhibition. Ambiguous but powerful, the use of symbols refers to the natural world and the history of painting.

Tàpies’s work embodies his personal experience and history, and of his native Spain and Catalonia specifically. Terra del Montseny (2008), a painting which celebrates Catalonia’s main mountain massif, incorporates dirt from the land around his country home. While the piece demonstrates Tàpies’s striking handling of raw materials, it also instills a strong sense of mystery, symbolism, and reverence for nature. His investigation of forms and matter made him one of the most influential postwar artists.

Tàpies’s first museum retrospective in Switzerland took place in 1962 at the Kunsthaus Zürich. The same year, Tàpies made a 16-meter-long mural in the library of the Business School of St. Gallen. In 1967, the Kunstmuseum St. Gallen devoted a retrospective to the artist. The following year, he executed three large paintings for the Convent of the Capuchins of Sion built by architect Mirco Ravanne. In 1973, Tàpies was the subject of a retrospective at the Musée Rath in Geneva.

My aim is to transform the painting into a magical object, a kind of talisman with the power to heal by touch.

Antoni Tàpies

Antoni Tàpies

b. 1923, Barcelona; d. 2012, Barcelona

Antoni Tàpies is recognized as one of the leading artistic voices to emerge from postwar Europe. Working in parallel with global art movements including Abstract Expressionism, Gutai, Art Informel, Tachisme, and Arte Povera, Tàpies believed that his era required a new kind of existential expression. Influenced by Surrealist methods while a member of the avant-garde Dau al Set group in postwar Barcelona, he came to develop a unique form of automatism and to reject representation and the illusionistic picture plane. He incorporated unconventional media such as textiles, straw, detritus, and found objects into his work, accentuating their tactile and material nature. Their earthy, distressed surfaces relate to themes of entropy and decay, challenging the viewer to find beauty in what is typically overlooked. Tàpies’s oeuvre resides between figuration and abstraction, matter and mysticism, as manifested through his painting, sculpture, drawing, collage, and printmaking.

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Geneva — Antoni Tàpies, Nov 8, 2019–Jan 10, 2020