Waddington Galleries are pleased to present an exhibition of works on paper and sculpture by Antoni Tàpies, widely considered to be one of Europe’s most important post-war artists.
Even more than his oil paintings, Tàpies’ works on paper are characterised by spontaneity and expressivity when exploring artistic ideas through the use of diverse materials (latex, varnish, cardboard, collage) and techniques (graffiti, pencil, ball-point pen, brush, imprint). Formal and material boundaries are withdrawn; a personal language of signs and symbols, which alludes to mysticism and spirituality, dominates the picture context.
In contrast to the heavy, earthy quality of the sculptures, Tàpies’ works on paper display an elusive, fragmentary character. The works according to Barbara Catoir seem ‘to depict the creative process itself as it emerges from the tension between form and formlessness, between the concrete and the abstract.’ Particular importance is accorded to the line, as demonstrated in ‘Fons de Vern’ (Varnish background). The line takes a variety of forms, ranging from the bold, energetic stroke of the brush, establishing definite contours, to the furious crossing-out and the abstracted scribblings, which derive from the unconscious.
Familiar elements and motives reoccur with a direct physical, tangible quality in Tàpies’ sculptures. Not only alluding to but forming an object, the medium permits Tàpies, as described by Andreas Franzke, ‘to employ the traces of his work – kneading and compressing, the imprints of hands and tools, incisions and injuries to the material – to full effect as tactile values and conceive of them in counterpoint to the applied graphic signs.’