Artaud Painting – Un noeud d'asphyxie centrale
Artaud Painting – A Central Suffocation Knot
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In 1964 Nancy Spero moved to New York, where she was ignored by a male-orientated society focused on the aesthetics of Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism then in vogue. She decided to work with fragile materials, through which she critiqued the participation of the American government in the Vietnam War. Later, she created more personal works based on the tormented writings of the French poet Antonin Artaud. She also produced the Codex Artaud that was exhibited in 1973 at A.I.R., the first women’s gallery, founded by Nancy Spero and other artists a year earlier. These are fragile works on paper in which she used a combination of writing, drawing and collage. Artaud’s text, handwritten or typed, is accompanied by small painted images, created as an extension of the words. The format resembles Chinese and Japanese scrolls, Egyptian papyri and medieval illuminated manuscripts. Emotionally intense and with a rhythmic movement, Spero’s iconography focuses on the representation of different forms of violence against women.

The texts of the MACBA Collection draw on previous documentation. Please let us know if you find any errors.
original title
Artaud Painting – Un noeud d'asphyxie centrale
year of acquisition
type of object
62.2 x 49.5 cm
© The Nancy Spero and Leon Golub Foundation for the Arts amb llicència de VEGAP, Barcelona
registration number
Col·lecció MACBA. Fundació MACBA
Gouache, ink and collage on paper
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
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