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Luc Tuymans (born 1958) is a contemporary artist who lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium. Tuymans is considered one of the most influential painters working today.
Tuymans' monochromatic palette and his choice of subject matter - domestic interiors, commonplace objects and family portraits - link painting with post-war filmmaking and amateur photography. The sources of images on many of his canvases give his work a brooding violence. Although modest in scale and sensitive in execution, his work is powerful in its haunting evocation of lost lives and repressed histories.
In general, Tuymans' works are painted in groups for each show and with the venue and the exhibition space in mind. For example, when he represented his country in the Belgian Pavilion at the 2001 Venice Biennale, Tuymans produced a cycle of works based on the murder of the first post-independence Prime Minister of Congo, Patrice Lumumba. Other works in the cycle show images of copies of African sculpture - a statue in a Belgian restaurant, for instance - and images from the Belgian Royal Museum's African collection. These works raised issues about colonialism and post-colonialism but also came at a time when a parliamentary commission was investigating the links between the Belgian government, the royal family's policies and the death of Lumumba.
The surfaces of Luc Tuymans' paintings are monochromatic and frail, as if recuperating from a long illness. In the long-standing tradition of Flemish and Spanish still-life painting, they represent domestic scenes or commonplace objects such as a pillow or a cake. These still lifes resonate, however, with a sense of the uncanny. Hovering beneath the surface of Tuymans' quiet paintings are deep-seated anxieties that rise to the surface in his depictions of faces or parts of the body. Though sensitive in execution and often modest in scale, the work's power lies in conveying a sense of violence, or a haunting evocation of lost lives and repressed histories.
Exhibition: Against the Day
Malmö 26 December 2009 - 25 April 2010
The Belgian artist Luc Tuymans (b. 1958) is one of the most respected artists of his generation. The exhibition Against the Day presents 20 of his recent paintings. In this new series the focus is on virtual realities, fantasies and illusions.
Curator: Magnus Jensner
“Authentic forgeries” is how Luc Tuymans himself refers to his paintings. Each image is based on an existing image, such as drawings, polaroids and film stills.
The title of the exhibition, Against the Day, is taken from the author Thomas Pynchon’s eponymous novel. As in Pynchon’s stories, paranoia is a recurrent theme in Luc Tuymans’ new series. CCTV, popular culture phenomena such as the reality TV show Big Brother and snipers are all portrayed here. The works are permeted by a sensation that reality has been put on pause. A course of events without beginning or end, but with a clear progression in time is shown. Characterized by a sublime and often quiet expression Luc Tuymans paintings nevertheless often captures a traumatic atmosphere.
The exhibition is produced by the Wiels Contemporary Art Centre in Brussels