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Toni Llena


Antoni Llena’s theoretical, plastic and dynamic trajectory is one of the most interesting and difficult to classify on the contemporary Catalan scene. He started working with conceptual art at the beginning of the sixties - he was one of the pioneers in Catalonia together with Àngel Jové and Sílvia Gubern - and he was often linked to arte povera because of his predilection for ephimeral materials - talcum powder, chalk, paper, etc. Where his friend Antoni Tàpies explored the limits of material, Llena tended towards the notion of nothingness. At the beginning of the 80s he went back to painting with his famous pictures using cut-up pieces of monochromatic paper. In the 90s he started on large series, in which he continued to work on the idea of painting with humble materials – stones, sellotape, cardboard, etc. Despite his quiet and modest ideas, his public work, to be seen in different places in Barcelona, combines highly spectacular large-scale creations with the emotion and sensation of fragility that pervades all his work. He is also a teacher, an essay writer on art and feature writer (a good example of his reflections can be found in the book La gana de l’artista (The artist’s hunger).

Text by Pere Parramon

The photograph is by Antoni Bernad (Barcelona, 1944), an internationally renowned fashion photographer. He started off doing drawings in advertising agencies and soon he turned to photography, in which he has been well known for his portraits.


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