Profile: Luc Tuymans
Born 1958 – Belgium
Belgian artist Luc Tuymans is widely seen as having contributed to the revival of painting in the 1990s. His sparsely-colored, figurative works speak in a quiet, restrained, and at times unsettling voice, and are typically painted from pre-existing imagery which includes photographs and video stills. His canvases, in turn, become third-degree abstractions from reality and often appear slightly out-of-focus, as if covered by a thin veil or painted from a failing memory. There is almost always a darker undercurrent to what at first appear to be innocuous subjects: Tuymans has, in this way, explored diverse and sensitive topics including the Holocaust, the effects of images from 9/11, the ambiguous utopia of the Disney Corporation, the colonial history of his native Belgium, and the phenomenon of the corporation.
Born in Morstel, near Antwerp, Belgium, in 1958, Tuymans studied fine art in Brussels and Antwerp before completing a degree in Art History at the Vrije Universiteit in 1986. Joining the gallery in 1994, he was one of the first artists to be represented by David Zwirner, where he had his first American solo exhibition that same year. An upcoming solo exhibition is planned for October 2012 and will mark the opening of the gallery’s new space in London. A second solo show will be on view in November 2012 at the gallery in New York.
Tuymans was the subject of a major retrospective, co-organized by the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. It traveled from 2010 to 2011 to the Dallas Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; and the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels. Previous major solo exhibitions include those organized by the Moderna Museet Malmö, Sweden, in 2009, and the Tate Modern, London, in 2004. Other recent solo exhibitions include the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, Spain (2011); Haus der Kunst, Munich; Zachęta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw (both 2008); Műcsarnok Kunsthalle, Budapest (2007); Museu Serralves, Porto, Portugal; and the Musée d’art moderne et contemporain, Geneva (both 2006).
In 2009, Tuymans was the curator of The State of Things: Brussels/Beijing at the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, which traveled to the National Art Museum of China, Beijing, and A Vision of Central Europe at the Brugge Centraal, Bruges, Belgium, in 2010. A catalogue raisonné of the artist’s paintings is currently being prepared by David Zwirner in collaboration with Studio Luc Tuymans. Compiled and edited by art historian Eva Meyer-Hermann, the catalogue raisonné will illustrate and document approximately 500 paintings by the artist from 1975 to the present day.
The artist represented Belgium at the 49th Venice Biennale (2001) and his works are featured in permanent collections of prominent institutions, including The Art Institute of Chicago; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich; Solomon R. Guggenheim, New York; and the Tate Gallery, London. Tuymans lives and works in Antwerp.
Copyright David Zwirner.