Born in Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War, Antoni Tàpies gained celebrity in the late 1940s for his richly symbolic paintings influenced by French symbolism. But he abandoned this style in the mid-1950s to forge his own visual language of abstraction, underpinned by the reoccurring use of windows, crosses and triangles, as well as unorthodox art materials such as dust, clay and string.
In celebration of the late artist’s 100th birthday, Timothy Taylor presents a solo exhibition of Tàpies’s paintings, object-based assemblages and works on paper, dating from 1989 to 2008, that explore spiritual decay and rebirth. Highlights include Matriu (1991), in which a cross symbol submerges a white canvas in graffiti spray-like black paint, and Ona-Mar (2006), an etched silkscreen which resembles a newspaper scribbled with codes, suggesting a world of hidden protest – repressed, clandestine, but full of life.
Shown together, they reveal an artist grappling with the emptiness unleashed by the post-war period in Europe. Tackling social, political and spiritual issues that resonate today, it’s little wonder his work continues to influence contemporary artists engaging with life, death and the complex of events of history. Make haste.