Fine Arts Gallery Exhibit Unites Prints and Poetry

Material Glance: A Portfolio of Lithographs by Antoni Tàpies and Poems by Shūzō Takiguchi opens Tuesday, May 29, in the Vanderbilt Fine Arts Gallery in Cohen Hall.

Published in 1975, Material Glance (Llambrec Material) brings together two important creative figures of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries: Antoni Tàpies (1923-2012), one of the most universally recognized Spanish artists to emerge in the post-World War II era; and Shūzō Takiguchi (1903-1979), Japanese writer, critic and proponent of avant-garde art.

Writer and artist shared an interest in surrealism. Takiguchi was responsible for introducing surrealism to Japan in the late 1920s through his writings, and Tàpies was one of the founders in 1948 of Dau al set, the avant-garde surrealist and Dada-influenced artistic literary group and magazine of the same name.

Although Tàpies is best known for his paintings, he was also an accomplished printmaker, and his collaboration with such writers as Takiguchi is thought to have produced some of his most innovative work in the print medium.

For Material Glance, Takiguchi sent poems written in Japanese characters to Tàpies, who was responsible for creating the book. The artist’s choice of paper—a warm-toned, tan-colored Catalan estrassa paper used by butchers to wrap meat, with its irregular fiber echoing handmade Japanese paper—activates Tàpies’ aggressive, calligraphic line when the prints are viewed with Takiguchi’s poems. The physicality of the poetry, which describes interior worlds merging with exterior realities, is particularly sympathetic to Tàpies’ practice and sensibility.

“The play of language against the visual world of Antoni Tàpies, one of the artistic giants of our time who recently died, is remarkable, each contributing to the other’s unique vision,” said Joseph Mella, director of the Fine Arts Gallery and curator of the exhibition.

The exhibition, on view from May 29 until July 26, includes other works by Tàpies from the Fine Arts Gallery’s collection, and, as with this portfolio, many will be on view for the first time.

Vanderbilt Fine Arts Gallery is housed in Cohen Memorial Hall, 1220 21st Avenue South, on the western edge of the Peabody College campus. The gallery’s summer hours are Tuesday-Friday, noon-4 p.m., and Saturday, 1-5 p.m. ~Amy

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