Mixed media on canvas, 194.5 x 170 cm
Acquired in 1985
Large Oval is one of Tàpies’ first masterpieces, produced shortly after he had begun to experiment with the abstraction of Art Informel and matter painting. It is characterised by its formal simplicity, the sober presence of matter, shapes, signs and scratches and a moderate range of colour, limited to variants of ochre and grey, typical of old walls. The titles of Tàpies’ works always refer to the specific formal, iconographic, objectival or chromatic motifs they contain, stressing their materiality, their textual and physical nature. However, the evocative lyrical capacity and the contemplative solemnity that emanate from his oeuvre make it one of the most profound existential reflections in twentieth-century art. In 1953 Tàpies’ initially Surrealist oeuvre began to develop in two directions: towards the drama of Existentialism, on the one hand, and towards the meditative attitude of Zen Buddhism, on the other. The Catalan painter is probably the most complex and creative example of matter painting, one of the main branches of Art Informel previously developed by Fautrier and Dubuffet. The introduction of gestural marks, signs and waste materials, and the creation of three-dimensional works have enhanced the painter’s evolution, by means of which he has made significant contributions to both Arte Povera and Installation Art. [J.V.]
Independently of its permanent collection, the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum regularly organises temporary exhibition programmes.
Please consult the exhibition calendar for more information about the museum's latest proposals.
Usually classed as a realist painter, Antonio López (born in Tomelloso in 1936) is one of the most idiosyncratic artists at work in Spain after the Civil War. From the 1950s, he has produced drawings, engravings, paintings and sculptures, fashioning an oeuvre of a remarkable technical virtuosity that somehow seems outside time, despite focusing on the realistic representation of living beings and objects. López’s iconographic repertoire always springs from the reality of the visual world and oscillates between scenes of intimacy and the vast outdoors: portraits, still life works, interiors and domestic objects jostle with broad panoramic views.
In 1992 film director Víctor Erice shot the extraordinary El sol del membrillo (The Quince Sun), which concentrates on Antonio López’s creative process, on the intensity with which the artist contemplates objects. This act of rapt attention gives the film a halo of silence and a sensation of time suspended, which moves the viewer to a similar state of meditative absorption. the painter’s highly distinctive use of light contributes enormously to the dreamlike, metaphysical atmosphere, to the suggestion of the visible as a door, slightly ajar, to the invisible.
Despite his realist style, Antonio López has shaped an oeuvre independent from the other, more recent European realist or naturalist trends and from American hyperrealism. What he seeks in the reality that surrounds him are the quotidian aspects that awaken his interest; he works slowly and painstakingly towards his goal of capturing the essence of the sitter or of the objects or the land- and cityscapes portrayed. Curated by historian Guillermo Solana, art director at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid, and the artist' s daughter María López, the exhibition will include a very complete overview of the oeuvre of Spanish artist Antonio López.
The selection of around 130 works, oil paintings, drawings and sculptures, represent his most recurrent themes: interiors, where the fantastic and emotive irrupt into daily life, the human figure, landscapes and the famous cityscapes of Madrid and Tomelloso, and his fruit compositions.Although works dated between 1949 and 2010 will be on show, the project concentrates largely on his output from the last two decades, which will include signature works like his earliest, slightly surreal family portraits, the legendary view of Madrid’s Gran Vía and the drawings of his studio. But attention will also be paid to more recent works, some of which are still unfinished and, logically, as yet unseen.
The exhibition as a whole will highlight the slow, meditative process by which Antonio López, one of today’s leading and most admired Spanish artists, arrives at his art.
Babeslea • Patrocinador • Sponsor
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04|30|14 • 08|25|14
05|16|14 • 09|01|14
06|10|14 • 09|15|14
10|07|14 • 01|19|15
THE GUEST WORK
04|09|14 • 06|30|14
02|18|14 • 05|19|14
01|24|14 • 04|28|14