Axel Vervoordt

Tàpies. Lo sguardo dell’ artista (The eye of the artist)

Palazzo Fortuny
Campo San Beneto 3958
vaporetto: S. Angelo or S. Samuele
1 June - 29 September 2013 

This summer, during the 55th International Venice Art Biennale, the Palazzo Fortuny presents: ‘Tàpies. Lo sguardo dell’artista’ (Tàpies. The eye of the artist)’. This exhibition is organised by the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia and the Axel and May Vervoordt Foundation and is curated by Toni Tàpies, Natasha Hébert, Daniela Ferretti, and Axel Vervoordt.

The Catalan artist Antoni Tàpies (Barcelona, 1923-2012) was deeply interested in existential questions. His passion for art was directly related to his need to understand the mysteries of life and his desire to capture the enigmatic nature of art. Constantly searching for a common link between the different cultures, geographies, and periods of human history, this spiritual search was his central preoccupation. He also showed an interest in more empirical matters such as science, as well as the theoretical quest to map the relation between art and aesthetics. Tàpies was influenced by philosophers and scholars of religion and science, as well as Old Master painters and contemporary artists. The osmosis of these elements guided him through his life as an artist and as a collector. By embracing the unknown and exploring these paradoxes, Tàpies became a prolific and inspired artist.

The exhibition in the Palazzo Fortuny is curated in close collaboration with the Tàpies family. It will show an important selection of Tàpies’ work in the broader context of his own private art collection, within the intimate setting of the house of Mariano Fortuny - a fellow eclectic collector. The aim of the exhibition is to show the spirit of Tàpies’ art and to present his extraordinary eye, both as a collector and an artist. The works in this exhibition have been selected from his own house and most of them have never been shown to the public before. The works will be curated from an intuitive and emotional perspective, rather than providing

a chronological overview of his oeuvre. Works from his private collection, 20th century masters such as Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso, Kazuo Shiraga, Franz Kline, Jackson Pollock, and Jannis Kounellis, will be presented alongside ancient oriental and tribal sculptures.

Works by a number of prolific living artists, carefully selected by the curators, will be presented as a tribute to Tàpies. Some of these artists were closely related to Tàpies, others have been chosen because of the way their work addresses similar questions regarding the mysterious and the inexplicable. These artists include Perejaume Borrell, Anthony Caro, Lawrence Carroll, Giuseppe Antoni Llena, Kichizaemon Raku, Shiro Tsujimura, and Gunther Uecker.

Antoni Tàpies was also fascinated by contemporary music and composers such as Schöenberg, Alban Berg, Shelsi, John Cage and Anton Webern, and a selection of their work will be played throughout the Palazzo. In addition, various films on Tàpies will be projected in the museum to give a personal insight in the artist’s ideas, concepts, and philosophy.

Also on display will be several important art books containing powerful lithographs produced by Tàpies in collaboration with writers and poets. These books include El Pa a la Barca, 1963 by Joan Brossa, La nuit grandissante, 1968 by Jacques Dupin, Air, 1971 by André du Bouchet, and Roman Elegies, 1993 by Joseph Brodsky, amongst others

The catalogue (SKIRA, 2013) will present all the works in the exhibition as well as a selection of Antoni Tàpies’ favourite artworks and books. It contains essays by Natasha Hébert inspired by the writings of Antoni Tàpies and an essay by Axel Vervoordt on ‘the Eye of the artist’.