In the 1950s, Tàpies began to use a cement-like paste in his work, made by mixing paint with sand and other mineral materials. This thick substance resembles clay or volcanic lava, reminding us of the quality of earth. Tàpies frequently uses symbols in his paintings, such as the cross seen here. He explained that he used these in an intuitive manner, stating "When I put a sign in a picture, an x or a cross or a spiral, I feel a certain kind of pleasure. I see that the sign gives the picture a particular power, and I don’t try to explain why this is the case." A simple and ancient mark, the cross can signify death, human presence and spiritual forces.