Antoni Tàpies, Pintura amb manilles (Painting with Handcuffs), ​1970 © Comissió Tàpies, Vegap; photograph: © Gasull Fotografia, 2018)


Antoni Tàpies: How Art Can Operate as Soft Power

Featured in Hyperallergic

Written by Dorian Batycka

March 20, 2019

As the polarization over Catalan independence deepens in Spain, two recent exhibitions at the Antoni Tàpies Foundation underscore how art and soft power are more relevant than ever before.

Art and soft power have always been uneasy bedfellows, and the latest situation in Catalonia is perhaps the most flagrant example. There, seven Catalan Members of Parliament (MPs), and the leaders of the grassroots organizations (opens in a new window) Òmnium Cultural and the Catalan National Assembly (Assemblea Nacional Catalana or ANC), are currently on trial before the Supreme Court in Madrid, accused of sedition and rebellion, while Catalonia’s former president, Carles Puigdemont, has fled to Brussels seeking political protection.

On a recent two-month sojourn to Barcelona, I spent considerable time taking in two exhibitions — one featuring the work of (opens in a new window) Antoni Tàpies, ( (opens in a new window) Antoni Tàpies: Political Biography) the other, the first European, solo show of artist Erkan Özgen (Giving Voices: Erkan Özgen)— both of which came to represent for me a renewed focus on the role of art as a sister to soft power today. When seen together, the two exhibitions reveal how art — at its best — can tackle issues of social justice and political autonomy, but not acting as propaganda.

Read the full review, written by Dorian Batycka, in (opens in a new window) Hyperallergic.

  • Press — Antoni Tàpies: How Art Can Operate as Soft Power, Mar 20, 2019