"The isolated human being, aware of the inadequacy of his destiny, is once again embarking on the conquest of the outside, good and trying to restore the cosmic order." Josep Vallès Rovira (Tàpies, imprint)
Take a look at the simplest object. Take, for example, an old chair. It seems like nothing. But think of the whole universe that comprises: hands and sweats cutting wood that was once a sturdy tree, full of energy, in the middle of a lush forest in high mountains; the loving work that built it; the illusion that he bought it; the tiredness he has relieved; the pains and joys he will have endured, who knows if in big halls or in poor neighborhood dining rooms ... Everything, everything, participates in life and has its importance! Even the oldest chair carries within it the initial strength of those saps that rose from the earth, there in the woods, and that will still serve to warm the day that, made into splinters, burns in some home.
In the article The Game of Knowing How to Look, from 1973, Antoni Tàpies expresses with these captivating words the interest that the object world - and, therefore, matter - has meant to him. The origins can be traced back to an early stage in which the artist expressed an interest in the historical avant-garde of Dadaism and Surrealism, with the incorporation of collage. These are works with which Tàpies approaches reality, where he explores the limits of representation in a gesture that avoids any symbolic value and where he becomes aware that the world of creation is - in the words of Georges Raillard - “a polymorphic universe where only unlimited realism is absent, the mimicry that is measured by the palm of a logic of established values and accepted meanings ”.
After returning to Barcelona after his stay in Paris in 1950, his work underwent a transformation, in part, influenced by the controversy surrounding social realism in the neighboring country. His painting thus leaves behind the influence of surrealism - and the inherent symbolic and dreamlike writing - to give way to a deliberately dense creation, which embraces the subjective will of its creator. The incorporation of objects, often taken from the everyday world, usually poor and humble, and which will sometimes have to decompose, becomes one of the key features in their plastic production. The materials then cease to represent an idea to become the idea itself, a cohesion from which emerges one of the main contributions of the author: the fabric ceases to be a window from which to approach the world and it becomes a wall, a wall, an element of containment where there is only room for subjectivity and introspection. The matter, thus understood, is inevitably indebted to the thought of Jean-Paul Sartre, whom Tàpies had carefully read: he conceives, as he wants after this impulse towards existence; the human being is nothing but what he does. That is the first principle of existentialism. " With these words he concluded the conference Existentialism is a humanism, held in Paris in October 1948, and it is precisely in this sentence - "the human being is nothing but what he does" - in which, also, the thought of Antoni Tàpies is based, because in the poverty of the objects, in the matter containing the warmth of the hands and the utensils, it is where the artist reaffirms the human dignity. With Tàpies. Reality in the foreground, curated by Núria Anguita, shows once again the aesthetic and plastic greatness of one of the greatest exponents of contemporary art. The Antoni Tàpies Foundation is one of the city's temples of art; the visit, a real privilege, and Tàpies, an illusionist: in each visit, a new vision.