Institute for the Research of the Avant-garde and HDLU Zagreb in collaboration with David Zwirner, London, present an exhibition of new work by Belgian artist Luc Tuymans. The exhibition, titled ‘Allo!', brings together six new paintings and a series of wall paintings especially conceived for the rotunda of the Mestrovic Pavilion.
Tuymans's new series of paintings is inspired by the final scenes of the 1942 black-and-white film ‘The Moon and Sixpence', which was adapted from the 1919 novel by W. Somerset Maugham. The film tells the story of Charles Strickland, played by the British actor George Sanders, a middle-aged stockbroker who abandons his middle class life, his family, and duties, to start painting. Loosely based upon the life of Paul Gauguin, the movie ends weeks after the death of Strickland, when his doctor travels from London to the village in Tahiti where the main character lived. When the doctor enters the painter's cabin, the movie changes from black-and-white to Technicolor. Tuymans made a series of screenshots of this color metamorphosis. The photographer's reflection - that of Tuymans himself - can be seen in the screenshots and therefore also in the paintings.
Alongside the paintings, Tuymans created a mural based upon a series of lithographs titled ‘Plates' (2012). This series depicts ceramic plates from the artist's personal collection. The dinner plates, Eastern European in origin, refer to the local ceramics industry that was once a symbol of national pride during the communist era.
One of the most influential artists working today, Luc Tuymans's at once compelling and complex figurative style is widely seen as having contributed to the revival of painting in the 1990s. Using minimal amounts of paint while covering a broad range of subjects, including political figures and celebrities, deserted landscapes, nondescript villas, lampshades, pot plants, and pillow cases, Tuymans has been described as a master of the ordinary. Yet small clues within his delicately painted works often point towards a more sinister meaning, with subtle references frequently made to historical atrocities, collective traumas, and the manipulation strategies deployed by today's mass media. Painting from pre-existing imagery-photographs, film-stills, newspaper cuttings-Tuymans's works address the elusive gap between memory and reality, personal space and public space.
Luc Tuymans, ‘Allo!' from May 10th till June 21st. in Home of HDLU - Meštrovic Pavilion, Trg žrtava fašizma bb, Zagreb, HR. www.hdlr.hr