Catifa de papers pintats (Carpet of Wallpapers)

Antoni Llena

Barcelona, Spain, 1942
  • Date: 
    1967-1968 / Later print
  • Technique: 
    Gelatin silver print on paper mounted on aluminium dibond
  • Dimensions: 
    Full bleed image: 39 x 29 cm
  • Category: 
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In the mid-1960s, Antoni Llena began to make ephemeral works using poor-quality, fragile materials like paper, talc and foam rubber. “One day, I started to make small sculptures out of paper, and I suddenly felt free. I found the fact that they could only last a limited time very calming, because it saved me the trouble of destroying them. That’s when I understood that life is movement, an ongoing process of change, and that the intellectual act is above all an act of ‘attention’. The most important thing is to pay attention. I thought: ‘it is constantly necessary to forget what you know to save your freedom, your view.’ And I realised that this artistic attitude was already the work of art.”
Catifa de papers pintats (Carpet of Wallpapers) is just what the title says; papers scattered around with no explanation. As the artist has said, “If the work is lost, there is always a photograph.” The photographs represent the only materiality in works that are destined to disappear immediately, testimony to a very short existence, yet this does not affect the subtle, almost lyrical beauty in the pictures: an example of the radical dematerialisation of the art object.

Horacio Fernández