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Artist Luc Tuymans Marks David Zwirner Gallery’s London Debut

Courtesy David Zwirner New York/London

Luc Tuymans, whose paintings are often so pale and sear as to resemble scrimshaw, treats himself to a gambol across the color spectrum in his latest series of canvases, an enthralling collection called Allo!, which debuts this week at the new London location of David Zwirner Gallery.

Tuymans’s blurred, dreamlike lines—the inexact, evasive contours that have brought widespread acclaim to the way he deals with memory and trauma—remain in full, disorienting effect. So does the Belgian artist’s hall-of-mirrors way of distancing himself from his subject. Although he based the series on The Moon and Sixpence, a novel by W. Somerset Maugham concerning a stockbroker who flees his bourgeois life to become a Gauguin-esque artist in Tahiti, Tuymans derived each painting from photographs he took of film stills from the book’s 1942 cinematic adaptation. The result is a facsimile of a facsimile of a facsimile of a facsimile, allowing him to focus less on the artist in this particular novel and more on the ways the culture, in all its sundry media, talks about artists in general.

Allo! is noteworthy for an additional reason. David Zwirner introduced Tuymans to the United States in 1994, giving him his first solo show there and, soon after, solidifying his place in the pantheon of contemporary painters. Since this is the inaugural exhibit at the David Zwirner London space, it seems appropriate that Tuymans, in turn, should introduce Zwirner to Europe. October 4 through November 17; 24 Grafton St.; 44-20/3538-3165;


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