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  • Provenance

    Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp

  • Exhibited

    Kunstverein Hannover, March 9 - April 27, 2003; Munich, Pinakothek der Moderne, June 6 - August 10, 2003; and Kunstverein St. Gallen Kunstmuseum, August 23 - November 16, 2003, Luc Tuymans: The Arena

  • Literature

    S. Berg, ed., Luc Tuymans: The Arena, Hannover, 2003, p. 53 and p. 39 (illustrated); U. Loock, ed., Luc Tuymans, London, 2003, p. 230

  • Catalogue Essay

    In his paintings [Luc Tuymans] proves himself to be a surprisingly alert observer of everything regarded in the concrete image as “anomaly.” He is receptive to the discordances overlooked by the self-evident, worn down way of interpreting pictures and records them rigorously while he is painting. Although this was already an important feature of much of the earlier work, it is taken to an extreme in the recent paintings Exhibit #1 - #5. First of all, there is an exceptional amount to look at in these works. Monkeys appear in thick foliage in an ambiguous setting. The assumed fusion of natural (vegetation and animals) and cultural (pedestals, caption plates and lighting) elements is actually a staging in dioramas of scenes Tuymans was struck by during a visit to the natural history museum in Tokyo. The stuffed monkeys are arranged in sexual poses: exposing themselves or during copulation. The mimetic association the animals command with us initially gives what is depicted an uneasy meaningfulness. Is it the intention to avert the danger of descent into animal pleasure by placing it in a diorama? The motivation is not known.P. Pirotte, The Arena, Hannover, 2003, p. 53
    Exhibit #1 has a similar composition to another museum “diorama.” The spread-legged monkey figure is in the same position as the figure of a woman in Marcel Duchamp’s last major work Étant Donnés: 1 The Waterfall, 2. The Illuminating Gas, 1946-1966. Duchamp’s work is a tableau, visible only through a peep hole in a wooden door in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, of a nude woman lying on her back with her face hidden and legs spread, holding a gas lamp in the air in one hand against a landscape backdrop. The vegetation in the foreground of Tuymans’ painting, mimicing the peep hole view of the Duchamp piece, emphasizes the voyeuristic aspect of this work, as well as the artist’s remove. In essence, Tuymans is deftly observing the act of removal, as a diorama is removed from real life, the artist as viewer is removed from the scene, and we the viewers are further removed as we are looking at an image and not the real thing.


Exhibit #1

Oil on canvas.
36 x 48 1/2 in. (91.4 x 123.2 cm).

$500,000 - 700,000 

Sold for $541,000

Contemporary Art Part I

15 May 2008, 7pm
New York