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Antoni Tapies

  • Art
  • Timothy Taylor, Mayfair
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Antoni Tapies
Antoni Tapies

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

There’s something elemental about the art of Antoni Tapies (1923-2012). Something basic, primal, ancient.

It’s a thread that courses all through the late great Catalin artist’s work, and is all over this show of work from throughout his career, this connection with the earth and nature and hidden symbolism. It’s there in the huge gobs of sand stuck to the canvas in the first room. In the thick streaks of black, tar-like paint upstairs, in the handprints like something from the wall of a prehistoric cave.

Crosses appear again and again: symbols of medical help in war-ravaged Europe, symbols of Christ and salvation, symbols of nameless graves, symbols of countless other things. One work looks like it’s carved out of clay, others like they’re imprints of fossils. There are words scrawled across the works, some written backwards. ‘Contemplate your hand’, says one in Catalan, but others are illegible.

I don’t look at any of this and think it’s great painting, especially the later stuff. Partly that’s because these aren’t Tapies at his best, and partly because the quality of his painting isn’t what makes him interesting. What matters here is the violence, the primordial nastiness, the post-war claustrophobia, and there’s plenty of it on display.

Written by
Eddy Frankel


Timothy Taylor
15 Bolton Street
View Website
Tube: Bond St

Dates and times

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