Belgian artist Luc Tuymans explains why all he needs in his studio is water, cigarettes and silence

Belgian artist Luc Tuymans, who has over 150 solo exhibitions to his credit, including at Palazzo Grassi in Venice, the National Portrait Gallery in London and the Menil Collection in Houston, is known for making conceptual paintings from images found. . Some of his most beloved works brave difficult and painful subjects, including World War II and Belgium’s dark legacy of colonialism.

The 62-year-old artist has just opened his 18th exhibition at his longtime gallery, Zeno X in Antwerp, which is also his hometown. The show focuses on four monumental and cinematographic canvases painted with numbers. In what has felt to many like a perpetual lockdown this year, Tuyman’s meditation on quantity and time is something many of us will be able to relate to.

We spoke with Tuymans about his studio habits and what he thinks is the most admirable trait in a work of art.

Studio of Luc Tuymans. Photo: Alexander Salinas.

What are the most essential elements of your studio and why?

The most important elements of my studio are the painting materials, the canvas and the daylight. For obvious reasons.

What’s the studio task on your schedule tomorrow that you are looking forward to the most?

Make a new painting.

What kind of atmosphere do you prefer when working?

I prefer to work in a serene atmosphere.

Do you listen to music or podcasts, or do you prefer silence?

I prefer silence.

Studio of Luc Tuymans. Photo: Alexander Salinas.

What trait do you admire most in a work of art?


What trait do you despise the most?

Negligence and laziness.

Without which snack could your studio not function?

Water and cigarettes.

Studio of Luc Tuymans. Photo: Alexander Salinas.

When you feel stuck in the studio, what do you do to get out of it?

I’m going home.

What is the last exhibition that you saw, virtual or not, that marked you?

Les Albers and Morandi show “Never Finished” to David Zwirner.

How would you describe your mood right now?

Nervous, as always the day before working in my studio.

The exhibition “Seconds” by Luc Tuymans is presented until June 26, 2021 at Zeno X Gallery.

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