Luc Tuymans talks about his "security"By Daniel Birnbaum, ArtForum, Oct 1998
Before I begin painting I'm in an extremely agitated state. During the actual execution I experience enormous pleasure, but before that it's sheer agony. The act of painting really involves a kind of aggression or violence. I've thought a lot about my work in relation to the cinema and techniques of cutting and montage. The violence in question is fierce, but also distant and abstract. The green orchid is a violent painting. The flower is fleshy and has a sort of poisonous atmosphere about it. And there's something sexual about the cut.
All my works are executed in a single day. It's the only way I can work. I'm too eager to see the image finished to let it develop over longer periods. It's more like a take in filmmaking - I can always try one more time and start all over again, but I never return to a painting. I always go all the way. Speed is not the issue, though. My work is analytical, not gestural.It took me about twelve years to achieve the detachment that you see in my paintings today. The "Diagnostische Blick" series from 1992 was a crucial step. This harshness and detachment is something I've always desired in my work, and my shows are getting cooler and cooler. The work is becoming very foreign. I've never intended to create an aesthetic, but paradoxically that's what happens in the end. I think the work has also gotten clearer, and probably even more aggressive. Perhaps I won't be able to go on like this forever, but I've been able to create a steady stream of images for some time now. I probably had my time off when I stopped painting many years ago and produced films. Since then I've had the feeling that the more imagery I produce, the more images I need.Read the entire articleSource:
Luc Tuymans: a painter for our timesBy Bunny Smedley
Because its means are so obvious and so simple, Tuymans' handling positively invites pastiche, as does his palette - but so too, perhaps even more so, does his coolly detatched tone. In this sense, he makes things easy for his epigones, detachment being easier to fake than conviction. And by the same token, faced with work that appears to be slipping away into nothingness, into inarticulacy or incompetence, the sort of critics who spent much of the 1980s anxiously taking the pulse of painting, checking whether it was still alive at all, now fall over themselves to praise, in their readings of Tuymans' work, painting's pallid, flaccid yet still self-aware near-corpse. For make no mistake - Tuymans' oeuvre is an absolute gift to the essayist, too. All those gaps, the hieratic shortcuts, the absences either of specificity or allegiance create a vacuum that sucks in every bit of prose that post-modernity can throw at it. Read the entire articleSource:
Inscrutable, intractable Luc Tuymans cultivates an austere momentum and gets more out of less than any painter aliveâ€¦wrestling down post modern, multi-culti mania he has created an art pared to the bare essentials, like a Balanchine ballet. His deft work is a relief, a tease, an insiderâ€™s reference point for all that is hip, painterly and politically charged.
Delineating a consistent, pervasive unease Tuymans works are vaporized remnants, spare membranes that alternately â€˜bait and switchâ€™ the viewerâ€™s focusâ€¦utilizing the imagery of found photographs, untainted by the contaminant subjectivity, with the plastic relief from Tuymansâ€™ pliant, â€˜handâ€™ moving consummately through every painting. This subversive high wire act tantalizes. The viewer is shell shocked, a deer in front of the headlightsâ€¦his works are a mute scar, a â€˜sonic weltâ€™.
Morandi with a wily, bad attitude? Maybe, but Soutine heâ€™s not and unlike his big sister Marlene Dumas, a provocateur who wrenches a range of coloration from her gorgeous, smutty palette Tuymans resides in a succinct quiet, ever so carefully evoking silent, haunting reprisal. He paints with the ashes of post war Europe then downloads universal anxiety and combines the northern predilection for â€˜soberâ€™ into serial utterances so perfectly loose, yet airtight. Random markersâ€¦no heroic stance, no histrionicsâ€¦just a fragile, steady plaint, a reminder. So whereâ€™s the â€˜insightâ€™ as the painterâ€™s inquisitorâ€™s bulb burns brightly, â€˜Properâ€™, the recent 2005 show at NYâ€™s David Zwirner gallery is imagery suffused with klieg lightâ€¦Condi, genteel table, the canopy bed, the ballroom dancers, S. Croceâ€¦Do these touchstones qualify for a check list unveiling whatâ€™s â€˜Properâ€™? Is this a necklace of mendacious, amoral evil parading as rootless, sublime anomie? Each painting is at one and the same time a disconnect and then a steppingstone to a soft spoken allusion just beyond oneâ€™s reachâ€¦a relentless unfiltered honestyâ€¦political insight as moral reprisal with imagery all dried fragmentsâ€¦bloodless. â€˜Properâ€™ meets all criteria for Tuymanâ€™s intentioned autism, illuminating a dissertation on deadly propriety. Where is the victimâ€¦the trail of blood?
The gossamer wings with which Luc Tuymans utilizes to convey this rooted posture become a deep, residual acheâ€¦ Holding his breath, cold endurance is key to Tuymansâ€¦Somewhere, somehow Luc Tuymans is relentlessly holding on by the skin of his teethâ€¦Stephanie Bell Behnke 2006