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- DescriptionTuymans' mochromatic 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 mochromatic 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. Ulrich Loock, curator of the artist's exhibition at the Kunsthalle Bern (1992) and author of influential texts on recent European art, uses Tuyman's installation of exhibitions as a way of mapping key themes in his Survey. Juan Vicente Aliaga, critic for Frieze and Artforum, reveals sources and motivations through his Interview with the artist. In the Focus, Nancy Spector, whose writings have been published in Artforum and Parkett, explores the narrative possibilities of the painting Pillows (1994). Tuymans selects Chevengur (1928) for Artist's Choice, a primitivist, magical tale by Russian author Andrei Platav, and gives a fascinating account of his work in the essay 'Disenchantment' (1991). Bern-based critic Hans Rudolf Reust surveys Tuymans' works from 1996 to the present, including the artist's important cycle of works Mwana Kitoko, a critical look at Belgium's colonial past.
- Author BiographyUlrich Loock is Associate Director of the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto. He has previously been Director of the Kunstmuseum Luzern (1997-2001) and of the Kunsthalle Bern (1985-97), where in 1992 he curated Luc Tuymans' exhibition 'Disenchantment'. He is a widely published art critic, concentrating on the crticial appreciation of Modernism and connected issues and artists. Juan Vicente Aliaga is a Lecturer at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Valencia, where he lives and works. He is co-editor of the books Arte Conceptual Revisado (Conceptual Art Revisited, 1990) and De amor y rabia. Acerca del arte y el Sida (On Love and Rage. Art and AIDS, 1993). A curator and art critic, Aliaga writes regularly for Artforum and Frieze. Nancy Spector is Curator of Contemporary Art at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. She has organized exhibitions on the work of Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Andreas Slominski and Lawrence Weiner as well as Matthew Barney's Cremaster Cycle.
- Author(s)Juan Vicente Aliaga,Luc Tuymans,Nancy Spector,Ulrich Loock
- PublisherPhaidon Press Ltd
- Date of Publication10/10/2003
- SubjectIndividual Artists / Art Monographs
- Series TitleContemporary Artists Series
- Place of PublicationLondon
- Country of PublicationUnited Kingdom
- ImprintPhaidon Press Ltd
- Content Note290 illustrations, (250 colour ) chronology, bibliog
- Weight1542 g
- Width250 mm
- Height290 mm
- Spine25 mm
- Edition StatementRevised edition
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