In 1960, Tàpies’ works were included in the now emblematic show New Forms – New Media at the Martha Jackson Gallery in New York alongside those by Alberto Burri, John Chamberlain, Joseph Cornell, Claes Oldenburg and Robert Rauschenberg amongst others. That same year, Tàpies used the motif of the bed for the first time in one of his paintings; Brown Bed. The following decade was characterised by the artist’s interest in objects and their becoming a central theme in his oeuvre. Hailing from this period is Blue Bed, from 1968, which evidences Tàpies exploration of the theme throughout the years. Akin to Oldenburg’s reinterpretation of the everyday object in soft form or Rauschenberg’s assemblages in his Combines, Tàpies’ use of familiar objects in his compositions was born out of a deep desire to challenge the viewer’s conception of the reality that surrounds her. Here, Tàpies doesn’t only reinterpret the texture of a bed in the traditional sense of the idea – from a soft, welcoming piece of furniture into a harder, textured relief – but he also challenges our mental image of it by representing it in bright blue pigment. By challenging our perception of the bed, in Blue Bed Tàpies somehow achieved a much more successful representation of it, capturing its very essence on the picture plane.
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