Luc Tuymans – Is it safe?
Beginning with ‘Gilles de Binche’ (Antwerp, 2005) and concluding with ‘Against the Day’ (Brussels, Moscow and Malmo, 2009-10), acclaimed painter Luc Tuymans produced a landmark suite of seven thematically linked bodies of work. Their meta-narrative, which traces the philosophical and psychic roots of contemporary civilization, weaves together a range of photographic source images, from St Peter’s to Disneyland to Big Brother, that together tell the banal and terrifying story of our times. Luc Tuymans: Is It Safe? features this source imagery alongside more than 100 of the artist’s newest paintings, many never before published. Accompanying each body of work is an introductory text written by the artist, while the essay ‘Tuymans, Loyola, Leibniz’, specially commissioned by Mexican artist Pablo Sigg, provides historical and philosophical context. ‘Proper’, an essay by Belgian art historian Gerrit Vermeiren, looks at one body of work in detail, tracing the themes and sources of each painting and capturing the cultural atmosphere of the moment in which they were produced. And an extensive interview between Tuymans and his assistant Tommy Simoens offers additional insight into the artist’s thinking and motivations. Celebrated as one of the world’s most gifted and visionary painters, Tuymans has been creating iconic works of contemporary painting for nearly three decades. With their enigmatic compositions and modulated colours, these works are moving and unmistakable, and their power continues to win new converts to Tuymans’s chilling vision of history painting.