Artist research: Luc Tuymans

21 February 2017. Luc Tuymans (*1958, Belgium) is a highly influential contemporary artist, who helped to revive figurative painting at a time of its predicted demise. Tuymans is torn between the inadequacy of traditional painting in dealing with the complexity of the modern world and its attraction. After a bout of film-making he returned with a new view and techniques taken from his experiences (Tate, 2004). My tutor suggested to have a look at his work to add to my own research for my 3rd assignment piece, “The Shadow. An attempt at an illustration”. She gave me a copy of a very faint monochrome painting, “Window” (Tuymans, 2004) to interpret and see whether this approach might help me in developing my own work.
Tuymans is interested in a great number of vastly heterogeneous subjects (Tate, 2004). This makes my reaction to his work heterogeneous as well between being attracted e.g. by the composition and lighting in “Panel” (Tuymans, 2010) and being repelled, such as the indication of a bent or broken body inside the tight-fitting tricot in “Illegitimate III” (Tuymans, 1997). Many of his paintings are reduced either in colour or in content, some are mere hints such as his “Window”. In the film clip available on Tate (2004) he explains that this is his own way of depicting the inadequacy of memory. While I believe that my own memory is somewhat different from his (working with much more colour and often with an overwhelming amount of detail, which is part of the diffculty of my problem with “developing” projects), I do understand how such extreme reduction acts to push the viewer’s imagination and how this fits in with my tutor’s remark of having overworked my final piece(s). In an attempt to sort of outmanoeuvre my imagination I will try and have an additional go at my 3rd final piece with Tuyman’s approach in mind, with more sketchbook experimentation derived from memories of my associated photo of my shadow entering an old farmhouse via a window. I will, however, not dedicate this experimentation as part of a set of predefined steps towards a goal, but will force myself to have my idea hover at the back of my mind only.

References:

Tate (2004) Luc Tuymans [online] Tate, London. Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/luc-tuymans [Accessed 21 February 2017]

Tuymans, L. (1997) Illegitimate III [oil on canvas] [online]. Tate, London. Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/tuymans-illegitimate-iii-t07408 [Accessed 21 February 2017]

Tuymans, L. (2004) Window [oil on canvas] [online]. Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels. Available at: https://www.fine-arts-museum.be/nl/de-collectie/luc-tuymans-window [Accessed 21 February 2017]

Tuymans, L. (2010) Panel [oil on canvas] [online]. [n.k.] Available at: http://www.art-agenda.com/reviews/luc-tuymanss-corporate-at-david-zwirner-new-york/ [Accessed 21 February 2017]

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