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Antoni Tapies (1923 – 2012)


Spanish Catalan artist, born in Barcelona, who from 1947 on, started to paint in a surrealistic style.
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Antoni Tapies
The highest wisdom adopts the humblest of bodies. (about the simple materials he used at his Arte Povare time, such as straw and string, fh)
Tapies quotes
At lucky moments this (suggestive) emanation (of the painting, fh.) could overwhelm the spectator in such a way, that because of all sorts of associations in his thinking , he could finally be taken to those areas which also had moved me so deeply and made me think I should draw the attention of others to it. (1988).
Tapies
An image means nothing. It is just a door, leading to the next door. It will never happens that we will find the truth we are looking for just in an image; it will happen behind the last door that the spectator discover the truth, because of his own efforts.




Tapies Antoni quotes
It is what makes conscious of the conditions and laws of observing which applied in this manner become a theme on its own. The activity of consciousness depending on the way the work itself proceeds, becomes the subject of my attention this way and it is precisely because of this voyeuristic attitude toward the own observation and experience of the subject that the conscious analytic dimension in the work shows. (about the ambivalence in his own work).
Tapies Antoni
I never view aesthetic ideas as having an existence purely of their own but as a function they have in connection with political or moral values.
Antoni Tapies quotes
How many possibilities may arise from the image of the ‘wall’ and everything diverted from it. Separation, isolation, wailing walls, prison walls. Witnesses of the passing of time : smooth, calm, white surfaces, tortured, old, perished surfaces; signs of human intervention, traces of objects of the force of nature; impressions of battle, of exertion, of destruction, of catastrophes or of renovation, creating and balance; what is left of love, grief, aversion, chaos, romantic enchantment of silted ruins by organic matter; shapes from which one can read the rhythm of nature and the spontaneous mobility of matter. (1980, about his early wall-like paintings, fh)
Antoni Tapies
I often told the fanatics of realism that there is no such thing as realism in art: it only exists in the mind of the observer. Art is a symbol, a thing conjuring up reality in our mental image. That is why I don’t see any contradiction between abstract and figurative art either.
Tapies Antoni quotes
The artist may rightly venture the opinion that he does not convey ideas, does not preach, nor that he intents to convert people by using mass communication techniques.. ..Better than handing out all kinds of wise advice, he could show life itself; he could awake forces lying dormant in everybody, he could launch an invitation to create direct and personal experiences.
Tapies
Starting with approaching the spot where the painting is to be done, meanwhile realising the emptiness of the mind, up to the method of ‘the flying white’, of the rule of the singular stroke of the brush.. ..there is a proper tradition in which the artist is fully aware of the fact that only the pure and empty spontaneity enables him to embrace without hesitating all apparitions and to truly penetrate into the roots of things.
Tapies Antoni
A cross could be a shape for expressing something spacious; such as the coordinators of space. That could be called its first significance or its first relevance. A cross could equally stand for crossing something out. It could also be a sign of obstruction. An overturned cross, an X so to speak, could be the symbol of mystery, something for the other side. Then I could paint a cross in such a way that a connection is made between two bars, and in doing so convert it into a symbol of the unlimited. So, many different crosses and X symbols occur in my works.(1988)
Antoni Tapies
In the potential of absurdity, hiding in the disparate combination of the various different subjects which in themselves are nothing but daily items (Schwitters collages, fh) equally in the exclusive representation of a normal item (industrial products of Duchamps, fh) taken out of their usual context , is by far the most radical – in its effect comparable to a Japanese Zen koan - paradox to be witnessed, which modern art has produced, one of the most forceful impulses that generated from it.




Antoni Tapies quotes
Did the most modern scientists confirm the ideas of some old philosophers and the intuitive visions of mystics, poets and artists? Without a doubt the need I vaguely felt for using new materials in the art of painting, apart from the influence of some masters, was the result of an effort to call to mind some problems raised by matter, substance and nature.(1977)
Antoni Tapies
For instance, the symbolism of matter, with its controversies, that is to say, the inner similarity of the deepest being of human and nature. The symbolism of ashes, earth, of mud and clay from which the human being originates and to which he eventually will return; the grains of sand which so obviously indicate the fragility and insignificance of our life and the solidarity emanating from it when one realises that the differences between us (people, fh) are the same as those between one grain of sand and the other; fact is: there is no difference.(1977)
Tapies quotes
The material presence of the work only serves as a conveyer launching an invitation to the observer to take part of the comprehensive game of the thousand and one emotions and visions.
Tapies Antoni
When I talk of reality, I am always thinking of essentials. Profundity is not located in some remote, inaccessible region. It is rooted in everyday life. That is what great thinkers have taught me, above all the philosophers of the Far East, for whom true wisdom — which I am far from achieving — is the conjunction of samsara (the ordinary world) and nirvana (profound reality). To achieve contact with reality is not to transport oneself elsewhere, it is not transcendence but thorough immersion in one's surroundings. A reality which is neither purely physical nor metaphysical, but both at once.
Tapies Antoni quotes
The tattoo can only exist as part of the skin, as a drawing always is an incision in the material and therefore cannot be parted from it.
Antoni Tapies
These days there is no such thing as art for the sake of pleasure, whatever transcendent or aesthetic meaning one tends to apply to it…. Art is made elsewhere, out there, on another planet (far from reality), which somehow we perceive, art is what is not known. (1952)
Antoni Tapies quotes
Reminding people what in reality it is all about, giving them a theme on which to ponder, creating a shock within them, pulling them out of the delusion of non authenticity, enabling them to become aware of their true possibilities (1976).
Antoni Tapies
I would say off the cuff that I am an anxious person. I worry about everything. I need to know everything. I tend to live in a state of anxiety with the feeling that life is some kind of great catastrophe. I feel the desire, or rather the intense need, to do something useful for society, and that is what stimulates me. In every situation I always look for what is positive and beneficial for my fellow citizens. I am interested in study, reflection, philosophy — but always as a dilettante. I also consider myself a dilettante as a painter.
Tapies Antoni
Obviously, the intention was not to go back to images traditionally valued as worthy or holy images and shapes, but exactly the opposite; its main purpose had to be, to realise as sacred art anything which so far had been regarded as of little value and pitiful.(1988)
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