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Art Diary

Antoni Tàpies: The Practice of Art

16 February 2024

Antoni Tàpies once said that ‘[e]ven an armpit can be every bit as transcendental as the most conventional sacred image’. The Catalan artist who wanted to find a ‘cosmic quality’ in the banal is the subject of an exhibition at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (21 Feb–24 June). Informed by the traumas of the Spanish Civil War, Tàpies avoided the traditional forms of art favoured by the Franco regime, instead creating works that embraced Dadaism and Surrealism and challenged artistic conventions through unexpected choices of subject matter and materials. By incorporating familiar yet unusual shapes and objects for art in his creations – straw, sand, furniture, crockery – Tàpies sought to create works that could be objects of meditation. This show, organised to mark the centenary of his birth (and previously at the Bozar in Brussels), is a testament to his lasting success in doing so. It will include more than 220 works drawn from both public and private collections around the world. Find out more from Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía’s website.

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Matèra en forma de peu (Matter in the Form of a Foot) (1965), Antoni Tàpies. © Fundació Antoni Tàpies/VEGAP

Porta vermella. N. LXXV (Red Door, No. LXXV) (1958), Antoni Tàpies. Fondation Gandur pour l’Art, Geneva

Composición (1947), Antoni Tàpies. Museo de Arte Contemporáno de Barcelona (MACBA)