Bergamin & Gomide presents Antoni Tàpies
Painter, sculptor and art theoretician, Tàpies is considered one of the most important artists of his generation
Works by Catalan artist Antoni Tàpies (1923 – 2012) comprise this year’s first exhibition at Bergamin & Gomide gallery, on view from March 12th to April 27th. Composed of approximately 13 works created by the artist from 1970’s onwards, the exhibition is only the second time the artist body of work is presented in Brazil – the first and only time before was in 1995. Tàpies also was part of the second São Paulo Biennale, one of the most important exhibitions of 20th Century art at that time, which brought to the country 65 works by Paul Klee, more than 50 works - paintings and engravings - by Edvard Munch, 20 works by Mondrian and a special room dedicated to Alexander Calder. MoMA sent Picasso’s Guernica to that Biennale too.
Tàpies was self-taught artist, learning how to draw and paint on his own, while he was still going to school. He has his first contact with contemporary art as teenager. His initial steps as a painter were as a Surrealist, much influenced by Paul Klee and Joan Miró, but this was a short-lived phase. The artist soon began working in a style known as matter painting (pintura matèrica), a pictorial trend of the post-Second World War period that was part of the Art Informel, or Informalism, movement in Europe where non-artistic materials were incorporated into the works of art. This informalism was nothing more than a “style” that replaced formal art of the 1940s and 1950s, hence causing some bewilderment.
Along with his solid intellectual education, literature being very important in his body of work, Tàpies had the Catalan spirit that gave him the driving force for creating his works. But non-European cultures and diverse themes also nurtured his tought process and his art. He was inspired by mythology, religion, history, ethics, metaphysics, science as well as other forms of expression such as dance, music and especially Asian calligraphy, which was very much present in his creative gestures.
In 1953, Tàpies began working with mixed media, which was to be considered his most original contribution to the art world as he was one of the pioneers using this technique. He began with clay and marble powder in his paintings, along with diverse items such as ropes, knives, objects, paper, string and rags. Tàpies’ international reputation was already well established by the late 1950s and, decades later, he would become one of the most revolutionary artists of the 20th century, a precursor of art languages, forms and materials, creating a vast legacy for the history of art.
“I believe that all of contemporary art was influenced by non-Western art. However, I arrived at Asian art through my interest in science, at a time when I was curious about nature, about the structure of matter and the problems of space, time and causality. We felt a sort of general disappointment with Western civilization. It had led us to terrible wars and we became somewhat exasperated with Western culture. This instigated me to study the philosophy and culture of other civilizations, especially those of India, and, in a very concrete form, of Buddhism in China and Taoism, first in China and later in Japan”, reveals Tàpies.
All his geniality, studies and knowledge led him to give life to abandoned materials. Discarded objects took on new meaning in his body of work. Everything acquired a new function in the ‘magic' spheres of his paintings and joined the whole without an apparent order or rationale. Tàpies caused a scandal back in the 1940s by adding sand and earth to his oil paintings “in a very spontaneous and a bit innocent manner, and it was an exaggeration…”, reflects the artist.
Antoni Tàpies also characterized his works and created an artistic identity by not making isolated paintings, but creating series of works. “As soon as I finish a painting, I place it immediately in another room. And the next painting I make will already be a function of that previous work. I interweave the phrases, if you will, and in the end there will be a group of works that share an expressive harmony and, I believe, an internal logic. In other words, I’m more concerned with the development of the art in general and not with each individual work at a time”, states the artist in an interview with Fabio Magalhães, curator of the Tàpies exhibition at the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil in October 2004, reproduced in the catalogue ´Antoni Tàpies - São Paulo: CCBB-SP, 2004´.
Bergamin & Gomide has already presented Tàpies works at the SP-Arte and Art Basel Miami Beach art fairs. The artist, who received various awards, including at the São Paulo Biennale itself (where his work was displayed twice, in 1953 and 1957), has had works shown at the Venice Biennale, where he was awarded the Golden Lion, and at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh. Tàpies received an honorary degree from the Royal College of Art in London and was bestowed the gold medal for art by King Juan Carlos.
Bergamin & Gomide presents “Antoni Tàpies”
On view from March 12th to April 27th | Mon. to Fri., 10am/7pm; Sat., 10am/3pm -
Rua Oscar Freire, 379, loja 1
Tel: 11 3853-5800 - www.bergamingomide.com.br
About Bergamin & Gomide:
Created in São Paulo by Jones Bergamin, the Bergamin gallery was located in a house from the 1950s designed by architect Vilanova Artigas in the Jardins district. The gallery presented important projects such as a retrospective of artist Iberê Camargo, solo exhibitions of works by Mira Schendel, Lygia Pape, Tunga and Miguel Rio Branco, as well as special projects such as the exhibition “Através”, where curator Lisette Lagnado unveiled Lygia Pape’s iconic work “Tteia" to the public (now on permanent exhibition at Inhotim).
In 2013, Antonia Bergamin, the daughter of Jones Bergamin, took over as gallery director jointly with Thiago Gomide. Focusing on private sales of Brazilian and foreign artists from the postwar period, Bergamin & Gomide opened its new space on Oscar Freire Street in August 2013.
Without a fixed stable and having the flexibility to work with a large number of artists and exhibitions of different themes, periods and movements, the gallery organizes four shows annually, both solo and group. Additionally, Bergamin & Gomide participates in Brazilian and international art fairs, such as Art Basel, TEFAF NY Spring, Art Basel Miami Beach, Semana de Arte and SP-Arte and develops partnerships with important foreign art galleries.