The work of painter Luc Tuymans (born 1958) is a permanent investigation into images and the iconoclastic fury that blows over us every day; into how people and things appear before us; into the chasm between representation and reality. Because glasses help shape one's sight, this seemingly self-evident instrument is important to an artist/investigator of images.
“I have always enjoyed painting glasses. Glasses bring a kind of distortion to the face that we cannot see directly through a pair of glasses. It is a strange instrument and practically a universal theme. The banality of glasses receives a different meaning when you paint them.”
Luc Tuymans, 2015
It is the first time Luc Tuymans has made a thematic selection from his own oeuvre. In the series ‘Die Zeit’, SS officer Heydrich masks his face behind dark glasses, a young King Boudewijn disembarks an aeroplane in Leopoldville hidden by sunglasses, Patrice Lumumba wears glasses and a tie while looking us right in the eye at close quarters, the smiling American family man Milteer, with enlarged eyes behind his glasses, is an extremist-racist, the face of the Flemish author Ernest Claes becomes a kind of empty mask-with-glasses...
“At a certain moment I went through all the portraits I had painted up until now, and I was amazed by the fact that three-quarters of the portraits include glasses. That was not at all a conscious choice.
Luc Tuymans, 2009
Luc Tuymans and the MAS
This is not the first time that Luc Tuymans and the MAS have worked together. A 1600 m2 mosaic by Luc Tuymans entitled ‘Dead Skull’ is located on the square in front of the museum. It harks back to his painting of the same name from 2002, which is based on the commemorative plaque for the painter Quentin Matsys of Antwerp on the façade of the Cathedral of Our Lady.