MOSCOW.- Baibakov Art Projects announced the first major exhibition of Luc Tuymans in Russia, where the artist will also be a special guest of the Third Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art. ‘Against the Day’ will open at the Red October Chocolate Factory in Moscow on 25th September, 2009 coinciding with the artist’s first US retrospective which opens at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio from 17th September. Following its run in Moscow, the exhibition will continue to the Rooseum- Moderna Museet, Malmo in Sweden.
Luc Tuymans is recognized as one of the most significant and influential contemporary painters working today. ‘Against the Day’ is the last of four exhibitions held between 2006 to 2009, which are described by Tuymans as “a triptych.” Each show constitutes a critique of, in the artist’s own words, “utopic ideals in society.” ‘Restoration’ (Wako Works of Art, Tokyo, 2006) and ‘Les Revenants’ (Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp, 2007) looked at the power structures of the Jesuit religious order; ‘Forever: The Magic of Management’ (David Zwirner, New York, 2008) addressed the impact of the fantasy world of Walt Disney.
‘Against the Day’, takes its title and inspiration from the American novelist, Thomas Pynchon’s recent work, to explore aspects of virtual reality and its effects on our perception of reality. Tuymans describes Pynchon as “the man who introduced paranoia in American literature,” and comments that, “the idea of tearing down utopia is present in all his work.” Of his own show, Tuymans has said that ‘Against the Day’ “presents the idea of an end, showing things as raw material, dispersed and disjointed, simultaneously offering more and more propositions, but basically going nowhere. It is the world as we know it.”
Included in this exhibition are the seminal paintings Against the Day I and Against the Day II (2008), paintings which capture the effect of pressing the pause button of a moving TV screen with a remote control. Against the Day I is a staged image which shows a man in the corner of a garden, aimlessly shoveling the ground. In his earlier works about the Jesuits, Tuymans created portraits of saints and images of churches where the views and perspectives are projected upwards. Here, the perspective is reversed, spiralling down. Against the Day II shows the same figure after an interval of time when he has stopped digging and looks ahead as if frozen.
In Big Brother (2008), which refers to the popular UK reality show, Tuymans renders a voyeuristic surveillance-type of still image of an empty barrack-like bedroom. In the diptych, Neck Hair (2009), he uses virtual imagery to focus on what appears to be a man's advancing baldness recorded by a surveillance camera. Neck Hair is, however, derived from a less reliable 3D animation.
Sniper (2009) is based on a video of an Iraqi sniper in the midst of violent combat in Baghdad. This type of image, widely available on the internet, is often reused in video games and distributed commercially as a form of mass entertainment. Sniper is the instant image of a real hit from a sharpshooter at the moment of striking his target in Baghdad. Tuymans came across it while surfing the web and it was later deleted and replaced by a simulated computer game bearing the same title. The intention of Tuymans’ work is to “fully revert back to the idea of the impact, and the immediacy.”
‘Against the Day’ is organized by Dirk Snauwaert, Director at Wiels Center for contemporary art in Brussels, and Curator of the Belgian pavilion at the current Venice Biennale, and is presented in conjunction with BAIBAKOV art projects’ Maria Baibakova and Kate Sutton. The 20 new works were launched at the new Wiels Center for contemporary art in Brussels in February this year, where they marked the artist’s long overdue first solo exhibition in the capital of his home country.
Luc Tuymans boasts an extensive exhibition history. Since his first major solo show at David Zwirner in New York in 1994, he has enjoyed numerous international exhibitions. In 2008, the artist was the focus of a retrospective travelling from Mucsarnok Kunsthalle, Budapest, Hungary to Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany and Zacheta National Gallery of Art,Warsaw, Poland. Most recently, Tuymans was the subject of solo exhibitions at Kabinet für Aktuelle Kunst, Bremerhaven, Germany (2007); MuHKA Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, Antwerp, Belgium (2007); Museu Serralves, Porto, Portugal (2006); Musee d’Art Moderne et Contemporain (MAMCO), Geneva, Switzerland (2006); and Tate Modern, London, England (2004).
‘Against the Day’ will be the first solo exhibition to be held by BAIBAKOV art projects, which has previously held group shows of contemporary art from Russia, London and America.