After beginning to study law, Antoni Tàpies began to teach himself painting in 1946. At first he was mainly inspired by the circle of young poets, writers and artists in Barcelona, who founded the Avant-garde journal "Dau al Set" together with him in 1948. Thanks to his first successful exhibitions in Barcelona, Tapies received a scholarship of the French government in 1950 enabling him to go to Paris.
In Paris Tàpies became involved with the heady intellectual scene of the time, meeting exponents of Art informel like Jean Fautrier and Jean Dubuffet. Antoni Tàpies also thickened his painting materials, mixing sand and other substances with his oil paint to create rough, wall-like structures, which he scratched with a sparse repertoire of signs and collaged with "poor materials". He produced his first lithographs in 1959.
Since the 1960s Antoni Tàpies has enjoyed international acclaim, received numerous prizes and awards and his works have been shown at important exhibitions such as the Venice Biennale or the Kassel "documenta".
In 1980 the "Museo Espanol de Arte Contemporáneo" in Madrid organized a first large retrospective. Since then, Tàpies' work has been honored with numerous exhibitions and retrospectives throughout Europe. Revealing close links with late "Arte Povera", Tàpies' work has remained full of enigmatic signs and abbreviations which resist decoding while recalling associations to esoteric or magic ciphers.
The highly educated artist draws on elements from various cultures, yet his main source of inspiration remains his native Catalonia and his childhood memories of graffiti scrawled on Barcelona walls as well as the Catalan tradition of organic ornaments.
In his writings and lectures Tàpies turns against the one-sided rationale of Capitalist society and all forms of cultural interventionism, revealing himself as an outspoken critic of the political scene.
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