"LA PELLE" - LUC TUYMANS AT PALAZZO GRASSI

January 10th, 2019
LUC TUYMANS
Palazzo Grassi, Venice
From March 24th, 2019  through January 6th, 2020 

Palazzo Grassi is proud to present Tuyman’s first personal exhibit in Italy, entitled “La Pelle” – The Skin- after Curzio Malaparte novel written in 1949. 
It consists of 80 works from François Pinault Collection, private ones and international museums, and provides a retrospective view of his career from 1986 to the present days.
The artist is also designing a site-specific work meant specifically for the spaces of Palazzo Grassi. Tuymans works and lives in Belgium, where he was born in 1958.
His mother took part in the Dutch resistance and helped refugees while two uncles had been in the Hitler Youth, and these opposed facts affected the development of some topics in his career.
He started his studies in the fine arts in Brussels and in 1977 he was impressed by large El Greco paintings in Budapest which enhanced his interest in the arts at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Visuels in Brussels and at the Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerp.
In 1982 he took a break from painting and focused on videos and films for three years.
His works are on the edge of painting, due to the basic materials, although images are often blurred so that you have to get closer to the canvas and stare at it.
As for the subjects, he made his debut in the 1980s with memories from the World War II with Gas chamber referring to the Dachau Concentration Camp, which became a leitmotif related to remembrance, memory and history itself.
However he never focused on it for a long time, since he developed a vast range of subject matter, from banality (embroideries, Christmas decorations) through images with a human background like portraits, mannequins, diagnostic images from medical books.
All his paintings are definitely intertwined but the artists moves backwards and forwards between varied materials and heterodox topics.
In 1995 he started to adopt Polaroid camera to select images that were transferred onto the canvas, not by mechanical means, just painted with fast brush strokes in order to obtain slightly out of focus images.
This procedure is applied to portraits as well, which are never on a direct subject, although the blurring based on light pastel colors suggest a feeling of intimacy and memory at the same time, embedded in the past.
We can tell the same for landscapes, which are not that many, and appear in veiled backgrounds, often combined with fragments of a body.
Definitely the still life genre is at the core of Tuymans practice, due to the lack of identity or any distinct sense of self in his paintings.
In the last 130 years the concept of history has radically changed, in fact we can’t detect any more a final goal able to shape the destiny of humanity, but we consider the inner world of experience as the true characterization of human condition.
Tuymans incorporates images from inside the body, limited quotations from history, ordinary elements of daily life, portions of popular culture in his paintings, and recreates a history artwork for the present time: subjective, fragmentary, emotional, psychical.
His ultimate purpose is not the description of history, but a painting of memory, with its misbeliefs and failures. 
Tuymans started his way into the art world in the 1980’s with group exhibitions, and in 1992 was invited to the Documenta show in Kassel, where he gained international recognition.
Since the year 2000 he has been the focus of many retrospectives at public and private foundations, such as at the Moma in New York, Tate Modern in London, various museums of Contemporary Art in Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas and some European ones in Geneva, Porto, Brussels, Munich, Budapest, and Warsaw.
Venice was quite significant for him, first in 2001 when he represented Belgium at the Biennale Arti Visive and later in 2009 for “Mapping the Studio: Artists from the François Pinault Collection” at Palazzo Grassi, where in a few months he will return as a prominent artist….
Take note on your calendar and don’t forget!
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