Asked to name a famous ‘Antoni’ associated with the city of Barcelona, chances are that Gaudí would be the first person to spring to mind, after all his iconic and thoroughly surreal architectural creations, best exemplified through the Sagrada Família, Parc Guell, Casa Batlló and La Pedrera, are as synonymous with the Catalan capital as its football club. Yet Antoni Tàpies is another of the city’s sons whose artistic prowess as a painter, sculptor and art theorist led him to become one of the most famous European Surrealist artists of his generation.
If you’re planning a Barcelona city break over the next few months, then you might like to consider stopping off at a special exhibition dedicated to the work of Tàpies taking place in the city until early November. Entitled ‘Tàpies From Within’ and conceived exclusively from the works conserved at the artist’s house and the Fundació Antoni Tàpies, the exhibition actually takes place at two separate locations – the Fundació Antoni Tàpies and the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC) – and focuses on two different yet central themes in his career.
MNAC proudly plays host to a fascinating retrospective of his mural paintings dating from the mid-1940s to 2011, detailing the development of his method from the use of paints in his early career to experimenting with varnish, latex and sheet metal as his style grew more versatile. At the Fundació Antoni Tàpies meanwhile, the exhibition centres on a series of works produced between 1946 and 2009 that highlight Tàpies’ use of ‘poor’ materials such as cardboard, string and thread in his early works, moving on to the incorporation of the object on the surface of the canvas, more prevalent in his artistic output from the 1960s onwards.
The Fundació is open from Tuesday to Sunday (closed Mondays) from 10am to 7pm whilst MNAC is open daily from 10am with different closing times depending on the day and time of year. The same entrance ticket can be used to visit the exhibition at both museums.