press release

The exhibition of Luc Tuymans Come and See at the Zacheta National Gallery of Art has a monographic character. It is part of the Zacheta cycle presenting the work of the most outstanding contemporary world artists. The paintings (close to 70 works) are organized by the artist according to the themes, rather than chronology. The exhibition makes reference to local history and to the architecture of the gallery itself. Alongside paintings on canvas Luc Tuymans has also, especially for the exhibition, created a mural in the Zacheta Matejkowski Room (the largest space in the gallery). The mural entitled Church is an enlargement of a painting from 2006 presenting the interior of an Eastern European Jesuit church (religion and power are among the most important themes in Tuymans’s work). The title of the exhibition comes from one of its author’s favourite films: Elem Klimov’s 1985 Come and See – the traumatic story of a boy from a Belarusian villa ge pacified during the Second World War. The exhibition, quite uniquely, presents sources of some of Luc Tuyman’s paintings - most often archive materials: articles from newspapers, photographs, films.

Luc Tuymans (born in 1958, lives and works in Antwerp) is one of the most important contemporary painters. In his work he explores the conditions of representation in painting. He links this theoretical issue to a radical intensification of the contents of paintings. His creative method is based on the reduction of the theme to a still, a fragment. The sense of the depiction emerges from a lack, an emptiness. The themes of his works most often concern recent history perceived through the optic of catastrophe and thus stand in strong opposition to the modest form of his paintings. Reference to the memory of the humblest or of victims, a feeling of lack, attempts to express inexpressible experiences: these are the most popular motifs of Tuymans’ work. The themes of nationalism, fascism and its crimes are especially spotlighted in Warsaw exposition.

The exhibition has been prepared in co-operation with the Mucsarnok Kunsthalle Budapest (curators: Zsolt Petrányi, Ottilia Pribilla) and the Haus der Kunst in Munich (curator Stephanie Rosenthal), where exhibitions with different compositions of works and a different selection of themes by the artist were presented in winter 2007-2008 and then in early spring 2008.

Come and See is the first such extensive presentation of Luc Tuymans’ work in Poland.

Curator Magdalena Kardasz

The exhibition received financial support from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland and the Flemish Government.

Luc Tuymans: Come and See
Kurator: Magdalena Kardasz