SIEGEN.- The exhibition Image, Body, Pathos shows 48 paintings from more than seven decades of the impressive creative oeuvre of Catalan artist Antoni Tąpies, many of them are being presented in Germany for the first time ever.
Antoni Tąpies, born in Barcelona in 1923, had a decisive influence on European painting in the second half of the 20th century. The early presentation of the 4th Rubens Prize to Tąpies by the city of Siegen in 1972 was more than justified. The exhibition Image, Body, Pathos permits us to take an up-to-date view of the artist's astounding, lifelong productivity.
While the early work is still characterised by self-portraits, in the 1950s Tąpies developed an understanding of painting that presented a completely new pictorial corporeality. He began to produce pictures using sand, clay, marble dust and lime, which resemble impenetrable walls.
Depictions of the human body appear repeatedly in the material paintings, whether in imprints, symbolic suggestions, relief-like plasticity or the integration of everyday objects. A chair, bed, door or clothing, as depictions or as real objects, points to the simplest of human needs. Suddenly, one finds oneself thrown back upon oneself, questioning one's own basic existential needs.
Tąpies' paintings evolve in a dialogue with the body of the image and the materials; in principle, the production of a painting is a process with an open end. His artistic work resembles philosophising about polarities: the poles of spirit and matter, form and formlessness, or reality and the imagination. In this context, the body, physical experience and investigation of the self are the extreme points of reference in a never-ending search for images. Once these images have been created, they develop a life of their own, unfolding a magical power and demanding the viewer's participation.
The exhibition has been developed in close cooperation with the artist and the Fundació Antoni Tąpies in Barcelona and will be shown in the Art Museum of Reykjavķk following its presentation in Siegen.