Born 1958 Mortsel, Luc Tuymans lives and works in Antwerp. Graduated from Fine Art and Painting at the Sint-Lukas Instituut, Brussels (1976-79); Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Visuels de la Cambre (1979-80); Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen (1980-82); and History of Art at the Vrije Universiteit, Brussels (1982-86).
Tuymans is known for a distinctive style of painting that demonstrates images’ power to simultaneously communicate and withhold. Emerging in the 1980s, Tuymans pioneered a decidedly non-narrative approach to figurative painting, instead exploring how information can be layered and embedded within certain scenes and signifiers. Based on pre-existing imagery culled from a variety of sources, his works are rendered in a muted palette that is suggestive of a blurry recollection or a fading memory. Their quiet and restrained appearance, however, belies an underlying moral complexity. They engage equally with questions of history and its representation as they do with quotidian subject matter. Tuymans’s canvases, which are typically executed on a large scale, both undermine and reinvent traditional notions of monumentality through their insistence on the ambiguity of meaning.
His works are held in public and private collections including Art Institute of Chicago; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; The National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan; Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and Tate Gallery, London.
Selected solo exhibitions include Luc Tuymans: Monkey Business, David Zwirner, London (2021); Luc Tuymans: Seconds, Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp (2021); Luc Tuymans: Good Luck, David Zwirner, Hong Kong (2020); Luc Tuymans: La Pelle, Palazzo Grassi, Venice (2019); Luc Tuymans: The Return, Museum De Pont, Tilburg (2019); Luc Tuymans: The Swamp, Reset Gert Robijns, Borgloon (2017); Luc Tuymans: Prémonitions, Lille Métropole, musée d’art moderne, d’art contemporain et d’art brut, Villeneuve d’Ascq (2016); Luc Tuymans: Birds of a Feather, Talbot Rice Gallery, The University of Edinburgh (2015); Luc Tuymans: Graphic Works - Kristalnacht to Technicolor, The Philip Feldman Gallery + Project Space, Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland (2014); and Nice. Luc Tuymans, The Menil Collection, Houston (2013). Selected group exhibitions include Secrets: Artificial Intelligence and Luc Tuymans, BOZAR, Brussels (2021); 20/20, David Zwirner, New York (2020); Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2020); Works On Paper, Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp (2020); Convex/Concave: Belgian Contemporary Art, TANK Shanghai, organized by WIELS Centre d’art Contemporain, Brussels (2019); Highlights for a Future: De Collectie (1), Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.), Ghent (2019); Me in Pictures. Five Centuries of Self-Portraits from the Collection of Prints and Drawings, Kunstmuseum Bern (2019); Voyage to the Beginning and Back: 30 Years of the Serralves Collection, Museu Serralves, Porto (2019); and David Zwirner: 25 Years, David Zwirner, New York (2018).
Awards include the Ultima for General Cultural Merit, the Flemish government’s culture prize (2020); Medal of Honour, International Congress of Contemporary Painting (ICOCEP), Porto (2019); honorary recipient of a doctorate from the University of Arts, Poznan (2014); and Foreign Honorary Member, American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York (2013).
Last updated: 07.05.2021