Antoni Tàpies was identified with a variety of Art Informel known as Tachisme—from the French word tache, meaning a stain or blot—for the rich textures and pooled colors that seemed to have occurred almost accidentally on his canvases. In his "matter paintings" Tàpies reevaluated humble natural materials, such as sand and straw, and the refuse of humanity: string, bits of fabric, etc. By calling attention to seemingly inconsequential matter, he suggested that beauty could be found in unlikely places. Ambrosia reflects processes and themes that remained constant throughout Tàpies’s oeuvre. This immense work resembles a wall that has been marred by human intervention and the passage of time: the rough, cracking gray and white surface—made of ground white marble dust mixed with pigment, which the artist further modified both by adding paint and by scraping away at the surface—suggests concrete that has been scrawled with graffiti. The title refers to the legendary nectar of the Greek gods that was said to make whoever ate it immortal. Tàpies has frequently expressed an ambition for his art to hold such spiritual and salutary power; the allusion may also reflect his belief in the transformative power of the most humble, quotidian things.


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