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.


Tate (2004) Luc Tuymans [online] Tate, London. Available at: [Accessed 21 February 2017]

Tuymans, L. (1997) Illegitimate III [oil on canvas] [online]. Tate, London. Available at: [Accessed 21 February 2017]

Tuymans, L. (2004) Window [oil on canvas] [online]. Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels. Available at: [Accessed 21 February 2017]

Tuymans, L. (2010) Panel [oil on canvas] [online]. [n.k.] Available at: [Accessed 21 February 2017]


Artist research: Susan Philipsz

Updated on 17 March 2017 (Harvard referencing).

20 October 2016. And another Turner prize relation, this time Susan Philipsz (*1965, UK), winner in 2010, when Angela de la Cruz and Dexter Dalwood were both listed as nominees (Searle (2010), Tate (2010)). Philpsz used to be a sculptor and has been working with sound installations for decades now. In a Tate video interview (Tate, 2010) Philipsz explains how she is interested in the ways distant sound defines space and this effect is explored in the award-winning, hair-raising experiment using the undersides of the bridges of Glasgow and a quiet medieval Scottish song about a drowned sailer coming back to say farewell to his love. What a brilliant, deceivingly simple, moving idea! Another sound installation, “War Damaged Instruments” on show in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna this year (Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, 2015), is comparable in approach. In Munich Philipsz discovered a century old horns, broken during use in war, and arranged for them to be played again after a felt eternity in the empty rooms of the museum. Via the breath of a horn player, for example, she invokes the broken impression of a last post, taking the listeners into the collective memory of the battlefield. The distorted sounds coming from these damaged instruments remind us with great intensity of the sufferings inflicted by war.
As in my previous two posts on Dexter Dalwood (Lacher-Bryk, 2016a) and Angela de la Cruz (Lacher-Bryk, 2016b) I was greatly impressed at how these three artists, but especially Susan Philipsz, reduce the “noise” in their work to finally come up with something so pure that it goes straight to the heart. This reduction allows the visitor a large degree of freedom to fill the “empty space or time” with their personal response to the experience and thus complete the work of art in their unique ways. This is of course an intriguing way to connect with people and makes me think about the involved mechanisms. The work of reducing the amount of information is not a matter of leaving a hole to fill, but to provide just enough detail to allow people to get in touch.

I have just realized that in her research suggestions my tutor is taking me on a journey into the third and fourth dimensions defining our world and thus art. It makes my head spin with possibilities to discover my own way to put into reality the crowd of visions I have on my mind. “Looking out”, the subject of Part 4 of this course, has got an alltogether different meaning for me now.


Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien (2015) Susan Philipsz – War Damaged Musical Instruments (Pair) [online]. Kunsthistorisxches Museum, Wien. Available at: [Accessed 20 October 2016]

Lacher-Bryk, A. (2016a) Artist Research: Dexter Dalwood [blog] [online]. Andrea Lacher-Bryk, Hallein, 19 October. Available at: [Accessed 20 October 2016]

Lacher-Bryk, A. (2016b) Artist Researc: Angela de la Cruz and an Excursion to the Turner Prize [blog] [online]. Andrea Lacher-Bryk, Hallein, 19 October. Available at: [Accessed 20 October 2016]

Searle, A. (2010) Turner Prize Winner Susan Philipsz [online]. The Guardian, London, 6 December. Available at: [Accessed 20 October 2016]

Tate (2010) Turner Prize 2010 artists: Susan Philipsz [online]. Tate, London. Available at: [Accessed 20 October 2016]