Antoni Tàpies

Pace | 32 East 57th Street

Antoni Tàpies’s oeuvre has always been divided against itself, and now, in this old-age work—the artist is almost eighty—the split is more evident than ever. On the one hand, there are works like Llit vermell (Red bed), 1998, relatively youthful, vibrant “wall” pieces, as they might be called, after Tàpies’s Leonardo-esque celebration of the “riches that can be found in the image of the wall and all its possible derivations,” especially “forms suggesting natural rhythms and the spontaneous movement of matter,” as he wrote in 1974. On the other hand, there are objects that reek of death and look to salvation, however ironically. The bronze orb of Esfera i cadena (Ball and chain), 1999, has a heavy chain attached, but the crucifix on top promises resurrection. Similarly, the cross of Encreuament (Burning), 1999, may be a blunt instrument, but it is also a body that seems to raise itself,

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