Asger Jorn

Fundació Antoni Tàpies

In distilling Asger Jorn’s prolific output from the ’30s until his death in 1973, this selection eschewed the chronological format of most retrospectives. Instead the Tàpies Foundation’s main gallery, a dramatic atrium space largely visible from the front entrance, was devoted chiefly to Jorn’s large and medium-sized paintings and ceramic works, while more intimately scaled pieces were displayed downstairs. This was just as well, because what emerges in surveying the career of this Danish artist, perhaps best known as a cofounder of both CoBrA and the Situationist International, is not a narrative arc but rather an overriding theme: the striving for an “authentic” spontaneity, a means of tapping into the unconscious to recover something primeval.

This psychological primitivism was displayed front and center in a key work Lettre à mon fils (Letter to my son), 1956-57, with its cast of crudely

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