Saturday, August 15, 2009


The first thing that struck me about Luc Tuymans' portraits is how spare they are. They possess a kind of minimalist elegance that's both poetic and charming. A baby can be represented solely by its head, suggested by a few sensitive lines and two dabs of pale marigold for the eye area. In some portraits the surrounding area is left bare, such that the subject seems to be suspended in a void. This deceptively simple but bold move creates an interesting mood- one of unconsciousness, deep thought or a cathartic state. Instead of framing the face nicely, Tuymans is not afraid to zoom in and crop it at the sides, an artistic decision possibly inspired by photography. His work introduces novel ideas for the treatment of an age-old subject; ideas that work surprisingly well.

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