Luc Tuymans: Allo!

3 out of 5 stars
Luc Tuymans, Allo! I, 2012, Oil on canvas, 133.7 x 182.6 cm, Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner, New York London.jpg
Courtesy David Zwirner, New York/London Luc Tuymans, 'Allo! I', 2012

Allo! What a friendly way to open a commercial gallery that might threaten the very existence of some of our homegrown art establishments. Although all the pallid paintings on the walls are by David Zwirner's Belgian charge, Luc Tuymans, 'Allo!' is a subdued statement of intent by the German-born, New York art dealer, seeing as he can call on many other artists from his stable who are little-shown in London (such as Francis Alÿs, Philip-Lorca diCorcia and Christopher Williams) to taunt his near-neighbours in galleryland to distraction.

The latest canvases by Tuymans are typically faint feints: washed-out versions of complex found images that mix politics and paint to initially mild, but eventually deadly effect, like waiting for a slow poison to take hold. His source material was a 1942 film based on the life of Paul Gauguin, 'The Moon and Sixpence', in which the last few frames suddenly burst into early Technicolor. This feeling of blearily stumbling into a brave new world is perfectly rendered in Tuymans's exotic travel pieces, each of which is retro-fitted with a dollop of his own sizeable artist's ego. As an introduction, 'Allo!' is a menacing one.


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