oil and sand on canvas
54,3 x 65,1 cm (21 3/8 x 25 1/2 in.)
signed with monogram lower right, verso signed
While Tàpies created strictly composed works of great calm and clarity, "Colom" exemplifies those works that are a manifestation of energy, spontaneity and an expressive gesture. Only the title, which translates from Catalan as 'dove', gives a possible clue to the subject of the painting. Framed in an elliptical composition, wildly placed red strokes accumulate on a white-grey background, not allowing an identification of the subject. Sandy sections that mix with the other (non-)colours reinforce the anarchistic character of the work. Moreover, Tàpies quickly captured his initials on the canvas in a clearly visible size.
In this painting, special attention is paid to the surface structure, which stands out through 'craquelé' and other irregularities. Materiality plays a major role in Tàpies's work: whether it is sand, as in this case, or earth, plaster, marble dust or glue mixed with paint in other works. With their indentations and markings, the image carriers themselves become a visual experience.
"You have to enter into a dialogue with the materials first because the materials speak, they have their own language. Out of this comes the dialogue between the artist and his material. Often you have to drop an idea because the material contradicts the work. Then a kind of struggle begins between the idea I am trying to express and the material form I want to give it." (Catoir 1997, p. 106)