mixed media on paper
65,5 x 85 cm (25 3/4 x 33 1/2 in.)
signed lower right
Translating from Catalan as 'basket', "Cistell" belongs to Tàpies's late period. Not only has the artist repeatedly explored the basket subject before; both technically and formally, the painting summarises the characteristics of his work. By using different drawing pencils and painting utensils, he emphasises different qualities and textures: from clear lines to diffuse sections to delimited surfaces. As far as the motifs are concerned, Tàpies draws on his familiar vocabulary: next to his prominently visible initials appears the cross so characteristic of him, followed by a centrally placed black signet that can be read as a three, but also allows for other possible interpretations. Three smaller, blurred-looking signs can be found at the lower right edge of the painting, also executed in a buoyant style. Are these letters or even a word? In the upper part of the picture, two arrows point to the central object: the basket?
Tàpies ultimately gives no answer how the composition, which is framed by dark corners, is to be interpreted. What matters is the insight of the viewer, to whom he offers multiple thought-provoking approaches through the complexity of his works. Just as there is not just one interpretation, Tàpies cannot be clearly and exclusively linked to a particular art movement such as Informel, Arte Povera or Minimal Art, even though there are various parallels.