Tokyo, Wako Works of Art, Luc Tuymans: Restoration, May - July 2006
Luc Tuymans, Pablo Sigg, Tommy Simoens and Gerrit Vermeiren, Luc Tuymans - Is it Safe?, London, 2010, p. 64, illustrated in color
Luc Tuymans' highly psychological paintings are born from a European perspective on the profound effects historical events have on the cerebral process. Such is the case of Luc Tuymans' Easter, a painting from a compelling cycle of works in which the artist addresses the parallels and influence of the Order of Jesuits to other authoritarian systems in politics and religion. Easter follows in the storied tradition of Tuymans' paintings in which the viewer is presented a partial and disquieting narrative. The suspended and ethereally painted scene portrays a figure in Jesuit dress casting an absolutist and authoritative gesture towards what appears to be an Orthodox shrouded figure. It is unclear whether this gesture is a benediction or one that seeks to expel the Orthodox from the present environment. The thwarted narrative is thus parceled across the canvas in a blurred or deemphasized manner that corrupts one's ability to resolutely interpret Tuymans' exact message.
Tuymans' deliberate reluctance to be entirely representational enables his paintings to underscore an intellectual, emotional and symbolic treatment of themes. Fascinatingly, the preparatory drawing for Easter follows the schematic and structural concept of the painting, but it is the arrival of the present painting that compels the viewer inward to the profoundly haunting thematic narrative. Laura Hoptman once noted that "for almost every painting that Luc Tuymans has produced, a work of paper exists." (Laura Hoptman, "Mirrorman," Parkett 60: Chuck Close, Diana Thater, Luc Tuymans, 2000, p. 120.) His commitment to his craft however, is that his drawn images remain uncompromised as soon as they are rendered onto the paper, and then when parlayed onto his canvases only the most calculated nuances can be detected. While Tuymans' images are both drawn from memory and directly from the subject matter, Easter is a disquieting visual recollection of the influence of the Jesuit Order, and their unparalleled ability to use art to forcefully promulgate their humanist and religious ideas throughout the world. Tuymans is seemingly fascinated by the influence and power of this Order and the images recall to the viewer that western image-building was one of the Jesuit order's most profound inventions.
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