cover image Tapies & the New Culture

Tapies & the New Culture

Rizzoli, Permanyer, Luis Permanyer. Rizzoli International Publications, $75 (215pp) ISBN 978-0-8478-0724-6

The abstract paintings of Antoni Tapies blend calligraphic gestures, surrealist juxtapositions and a deliberate surface ambiguity arising out of the Catalan artist's immersion in Zen and Taoism. His work is largely cerebral, its calculated control at odds with the Zen-like immediacy he self-consciously embraces. Tapies's inflated reputation, built on his fierce but highly symbolic protests against Franco's regime, is not enhanced by Permanyer's weighty essay, full of superlatives and sweeping claims that are stated but not elaborated on. One-hundred color reproductions of paintings made between 1979 and 1985 are the centerpiece of this large album. Tapies's recent work is interpreted as the crystallization of an impulse to create a new culture, but exactly what that culture should look like is never discussed beyond vague references to living in harmony with nature, the cosmos and society. Permanyer's previous books have been published only in Spain.(November 17)