Luc Tuymans

On painting, filmmaking and how to look at art

By Martin Herbert

Peaches, 2012, oil on canvas, 174x118cm. Courtesy David Zwirner, New York and London Allo! VI, 2012, oil on canvas, 140 x 190 cm. Courtesy David Zwirner, New York and London La Correspondance, 1985, oil on canvas, 80 x 120 cm. Courtesy David Zwirner, New York and London Our New Quarters, 1986, oil on canvas, 80 x 120 cm. Courtesy David Zwirner, New York and London Courtesy David Zwirner, New York and London

When we think of Luc Tuymans, hot colour and humour aren’t the first things that come to mind. For over 30 years the hugely influential Belgian painter has used a washed-out palette to prowl around trauma, locating it in details, peripheral views, seemingly anonymous scenarios. He’s explored a multitude of subjects, often opening onto the dark operations of power – the Holocaust, colonialism, corporate aesthetics, even Disney – while simultaneously querying the vitality, or otherwise, of painting itself. For all…

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