Discover Benelux | Interview | Luc Tuymans
Issei Sagawa by Luc Tuymans Oil on canvas, 2012 116.2 x 81.4 cm Private collection
35 years later, I can still remember how it started,” he recalls.
Room for other artists Tuymans and his wife, the Venezuelan artist Carla Arocha, are both passionate art collectors, although you will not find any of Tuymans’ own work on display in their Antwerp home. “Once a painting is done, the thought of having it in my living quarters: just ‘no’,” he affirms. “I couldn’t stand it. I would just see mistakes. I’d rather look at somebody else’s mistakes. When a work is finished, it’s finished. “When I started out I used to live in a very small apartment in the ghetto here in Antwerp. I used to work in the living room and that’s how I destroyed a lot of work. Now, I have the privilege of going to the studio, closing the door and going home. I think the separation between the studio and the home is a good thing.” 48 | Issue 34 | October 2016
Glasses by Luc Tuymans Oil on canvas, 2007 50 x 40 cm Penny Pritzker and Bryan Traubert Collection
True to his roots We wondered whether Tuymans, who was born in 1958 in Mortsel, near Antwerp, would ever consider leaving the Flanders region? “I am very attached to Antwerp. There’s a big history here and there has always been a big history here. It still is one of the biggest ports in Europe,” he begins. “Of course, I’m a bit chauvinistic about it and that’s why I actually still live here.” Tuymans is undoubtedly proud of his Antwerp roots, yet leads an international lifestyle thanks to his global success. Just last year, a major survey of his work, entitled Intolerance, was presented at the Qatar Museums Gallery Al Riwaq in Doha. Other significant surveys show the artist’s work including one at London’s Tate Modern in 2004. What does Tuymans think of the British capital? “London has changed enormously. It’s a very expensive place to be and like a lot of cities, due to globalisation, they
lose their character and that is a pity of course. It is then all rules and regulations,” he laments. “If I was considering having a second home in another city then I would consider somewhere like Madrid, Mexico City or Warsaw. It certainly wouldn’t be New York or London.” That said, Tuymans massively appreciates London’s choice of galleries. “Institution wise, there’s a lot to see…” he enthuses.
Tools of the trade Tuymans is a great admirer of 79-yearold English artist David Hockney, who this summer presented a new body of work for the Royal Academy of Arts exhibition 82 Portraits and 1 Still-life. “If you look at his portraits, they are so fresh. Especially when you take into consideration that he is nearly 80 years old.” Hockney is known for embracing all things digital and having experimented with iPhone and iPad art. Tuymans is
Promoting Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg.