about the exhibition

Antoni Tàpies

Grey and Black Cross. No. XXVI


Primarily self-taught, Antoni Tàpies’s entry into abstract painting occurred through his association with an underground group of Catalan artists and writers, known as the Blaus, who were anti-academics interested in the subconscious. During the early 1950s, Tàpies refined his approach to painting by combining color experiments, simplified forms, and unexpected materials to produce works such as Grey and Black Cross. No. XXVI. Limited to a dark gray palette, its surface comprises densely textured incisions, marks, and ridges of varying depths and dimensions which he carved into the canvas’s impasto skin with a sculptor’s tools rather than a painter’s brushes. And, bigger and bulkier than his earlier paintings, it bears a likeness to a graffiti-marred interior wall, suggesting enclosure and confinement, escape and
freedom—ideas at the heart of his boyhood experience of the Spanish Civil War.

Antoni Tàpies (b. 1923, Barcelona; lives and works in Barcelona)
Grey and Black Cross. No. XXVI, 1955
Mixed media on canvas
57 1/8 x 44 5/8 in.
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
The Panza Collection

As I go along with my work I formulate my thought, and from this struggle between what I want and the reality of the material—from this tension—is born an equilibrium. —Antoni Tàpies