Luc Tuymans: The Go-Between
Over the last twenty years Luc Tuymans has created a body of work that has had a profound impact on the direction of painting. Through a vast range of imagery he creates a collage of seemingly disconnected fragments, inspired by major historical events, human emotional states and everyday occurrences.
Following a major exhibition at Tate Modern last year, this exhibition at Compton Verney focuses on paintings from the series The Rumour and Der Diagnostische Blick. New works including The Worshipper, Dusk and Cinq Anneaux are also exhibited in England for the first time.
Tuymans’ work acts like a repository of data, with source material drawn from photographs, newspapers and film, and utilised afresh. The resulting paintings are characterised by short, loose brushwork and muted tones. Tuymans is inspired by the traditions of Old Master Flemish and Spanish genre painting, through which he expresses the anxieties and alienation of contemporary life in Europe.
Tuymans was born in Antwerp, Belgium in 1958, where he worked as a painter and film-maker. Techniques such as close-ups, cropping, framing and sequencing, which feature so prominently in his work, are devised as a result of his film-making. Through his work, Tuymans expresses how representation can only ever be partial and that full meaning has to be pieced together through fragments of imagery.
Susan Hiller: The J-Street Project
Susan Hiller’s installations comment on the forgotten aspects of society and culture, and act as narratives which recall historical events that are visually and emotionally compelling. At Compton Verney, Hiller is showing The J-Street Project; a complex study documenting every street in Germany whose name contains a reference to Jews.
The resulting installation contains both video and photographic works, mapping the whole of Germany and containing an extraordinary 303 place names. The images are haunting, often sparse yet dramatic, and conjure up feelings of distinct unease. Some images are occupied with people; others are empty but equally compelling in the feeling of sadness and absence they evoke.
The J-Street Project took three years to complete. Hiller’s thoroughness in her research was immaculate and nothing was missed. The cumulative effect of all these images seen together acts as an important documentary about a controversial period in European history, with the camera acting as a witness to past events.
Hiller was born in the USA in 1940 and rose to prominence in London during the 1970s. She is regarded as an immensely influential figure for a younger generation of British artists. Her work was recently presented in a major survey exhibition at the Baltic, Gateshead, which travelled to Museu Serralves, Porto and Kunsthalle, Basel.