Luc Tuymans, internationally acclaimed and active artist and curator
The Belgian figurative artist Luc Tuymans was born in Mortsel in 1958, and has since gone on to become one of the most well-known and influential names in the national and international art world.
Luc Tuymans made his first oil painting as a teenager. Between the late 70s and early 80s, he studied at the Sint-Lukasinstituut in Brussels and later at La Cambre in Brussels and at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. From 1982 to 1986, he read History of Art at the Free University of Brussels (VUB). He set himself to experimenting with the medium of film in this period also, alongside painting.
In 1985, he made his first public performance at the prestigious Thermae Palace Hotel in Ostend, his first solo exhibition. His cinematic outlook comes across in his paintings, which often hark back to existing materials, such as drawings, found footage and imagery, and his own photos. Owing to his mistrust of the veracity of images in the media and advertising, he digs deeper than their surface-level message and goes in search of underlying meanings, which he then re-interprets and magnifies. In this sense, he refers to his paintings as ‘authentic forgeries’. The results are often highly charged with historical or political impressions. Unprocessed history from the Second World War, Belgian colonialism, historical figures, conservatism, new political tendencies, religion … these are often recurring themes, masterfully depicted as generally uneasy, monochrome canvasses, sometimes in vague colours. He uses photographic techniques such as cropping, incomplete framing and extreme close-ups for this.
Luc Tuymans’ idiosyncratic work has been shown at a host of prestigious exhibitions, both at home and abroad, in the past. A selection: Ruimte Morguen in Antwerp, BOZAR in Brussels, Kunsthalle Bern, the David Zwirner Gallery in New York, the Belgian pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2001, Wako Works of Art in Tokyo, Museum De Pont in Tilburg, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Dallas Museum of Art and the Palazzo Grassi in Venice. In 2004, he even became the first living Belgian to receive a retrospective exhibition at the Tate Modern in London.
His work is hanging in prominent museums worldwide, such as the Museum of Contemporary Art (M HKA) in Antwerp, the Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art (S.M.A.K.) in Ghent, the Bonnefanten Museum in Maastricht, the Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris, the Tate Gallery in London, the Guggenheim Museum and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Modern Art in Los Angeles, the Sammlung Goetz Museum in Munich.
Ample opportunities to get to know his fantastic collection yourself!
Photo: © Marc Wathieu