Antoni Tàpies was a key artist in the expression of aesthetic modernity in our country. This is true of all his creative phases: from the early magical realism and the
Dau al Set years to the eruption of informalism in the 1950s and the textured universe of signs in the 1960s and 70s.
A new desire for reality
After the mid-1960s, running parallel in time to the social consolidation of informalist painting, art experienced a new desire for reality. The European pop operated as a critique of mass consumerism. Öyvind Fahlström, Sanja Iveković, Miralda, Joan Rabascall, Martha Rosler and Alberto Solsona, amongst others, cast a questioning gaze alongside the more vitriolic art that revolves around a fascination with machines as evinced by the likes of Thomas Bayrle, Richard Hamilton and Christopher Williams.
Language in the art centre
Recent years have also seen the recuperation of the avant-garde poetic experimentation seen before the war. The second half of the 20th century saw language placed at the centre of avant-garde artistic practices. Marcel Broodthaers is a key figure amongst those who make words the protagonists of their work. Artists interested in the complexities of communication include Harald Klingelhöller, Edgardo Antonio Vigo and the Art & Language group. Joan Brossa adopts language and the object as a field of experiment that is also explored by such artists as Ignasi Aballí, Antoni Llena, Josep Maria Mestres Quadreny, Perejaume, Pere Portabella and Francesc Torres.
Aspen. The Multimedia Magazine in a Box
Between 1965 and 1971, ASPEN. The Multimedia Magazine in a Box embodied a new publishing format that has stood as a landmark in the self-publication of art magazines ever since. Created by the publisher Phyllis Johnson, Aspen helped to spread the idea of the boîte-en-valise or ‘museum in a suitcase’ formulated by Marcel Duchamp in 1935, proposing a new way of understanding the relations between the individual and art.
The return to the object
In the 1980s and 90s, art returned to the world of the physical object, its symbolism and its memory, its uses and its meanings. Everyday objects acquired new significance in installations by the likes of Tony Cragg, Sherrie Levine and Haim Steinbach. Meanwhile, Jenny Holzer, Pep Agut and Pep Duran were amongst those artists whose attention turned to examine the ways in which meaning and the passing of time in things is generated. Language continues to be in tension with the object. Juan Muñoz restores to art the body and the realist metaphor that minimalism and abstraction had denied it. William Kentridge uses medical instruments to explore fragility and break-up as contemporary conditions.