Mixed media on card. 100.5 x 69.5 cm. Framed under glass. Signed 'Tàpies'. - Mounted on canvas.
In the work “Urpa” an incorporeal abstract hand grasps a single letter, a small “a” in front of a white, nebulous ground. Even without any context, the title "Claw" or "Talon", translated from Catalan, and the black line lend the scenery a threatening undertone that permits a variety of interpretations. Antoni Tàpies is a master of encryption. The artist bequeaths a complex and poetic oeuvre, which developed from a continuous reflection of current political events and an occupation with far Eastern and European philosophies and cultures. In addition, thoughts of mysticism and alchemy play an important role in understanding his art. Aside from an immediately perceptible physical experience, the artist hopes that his works will make his own reality comprehensible to the viewer. Following this goal, since the 1960s, Tàpies has successively created a complex communication system and a fixed canon of motifs consisting of signs, writing and language indicating complex levels of significance. According to Tàpies, the letter "a" indicates, among other things, a beginning or a boundary, but can also, usually in connection with the letter "t", stand for the artist's initials.
'My works can indeed be interpreted in several ways. By leaving things suggestive, however, one gains a much greater scope of associations, which I would like to set in motion with the viewer. [...] This compels a participation by the viewer, a participation in the creative act, which I think is very important. Barbara Catoir (ed.), Gespräche mit Antoni Tàpies, Munich 1987, p.85).
Galerie Lelong, Paris/New York (labels verso); private collection, the Netherlands
Paris 1990 (Galerie Lelong), Tapies, exhib.cat.no.9, p.12 with colour illus.