F or the first time, Belgium is hosting a major retrospective devoted to its renowned artist Luc Tuymans. Following a series of US cities, Brussels is the first – and only – European city where the exhibition, a co-production by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Wexner Center for the Arts, can be seen. In their selection the curators have highlighted a number of series, each of which was conceived and developed as a coherent whole by Tuymans. These have been specially brought together again for the exhibition from (mostly private) collections all over the world. In total there are some 75 works in the exhibition, offering a chronological overview of 30 years of creative work. Via topics such as the Second World War, (post-)colonialism, and 9/11, subjects such as violence, history and nationalism, perception and surveillance are addressed. Tuymans raises the issue of the immediacy of the ever-present, consumable image. His subdued colour palette plays a prominent role in this context, as does his unique, deceptively impassive but expressive style. For the first time, the exhibition offers an opportunity to see the Super 8, Super 16 and 35 mm films that Tuymans shot in the early days of his career; alongside photographs and images from popular culture, these continue to bear fruit in his working methods today.
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