For the exhibition Glasses, Luc Tuymans looks back at his oeuvre thematically for the first time. It includes portraits, of ‘nameless people’ and historic figures, and other works. The leitmotiv is a ‘pair of glasses’.
The selection includes iconic works from Tuymans’ oeuvre, whose major themes include Nazism, colonialism and nationalism. 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...
The work of the Belgian painter Luc Tuymans (1958) is an ongoing investigation of images and the flood of images in which we are immersed on a daily basis; of how people and things appear to us; and of the gap between representation and reality. Because glasses help shape the way someone looks, such an apparently obvious instrument is important to an artist and image researcher. However incidental they may seem to be, glasses help determine how we ‘read’ a person’s identity.
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