A conversation on stage in an empty concert hall… Our exceptional times are the subject of a conversation recorded in autumn 2020 between Chantal Pattyn and artist Luc Tuymans about art during a pandemic, the shifts we see and the solidarity we seem to lack, about Trump and Black Lives Matter, and what the world will look like post COVID-19.
Conversation in Dutch with subtitles available in Dutch, French and English.
Belgian artist Luc Tuymans (1958) is known for a distinctive style of painting that demonstrates images’ power to simultaneously communicate and withhold. Tuymans pioneered a decidedly non-narrative approach to figurative painting, instead exploring how information can be layered and embedded within certain scenes and signifiers. He is internationally acknowledged as one of the greatest living painters, and he is an acute and fearless commentator on art and society today.
"I think that culture, because it is still largely depoliticised, can be the standard bearer for diversity, en can lead to a common idea about that diversity. Not to tell us what we can and cannot do, but to offer that freedom. Extreme moments, like the one we are living through, are also very important in the development of a society. It can also stop the stagnation around this idea of the Old World, and do the opposite: reactivate our society; it could lead to a sort of new renaissance."
"In times of crisis people don’t like to be confronted with criticism, they prefer to go for denial. That is the culture we will get – a culture I have seen coming for a long time now: what would happen if vulgarity acquired some sort of intelligence? Trump is a prime example of that. That is the kind of culture we will get, something comparable to the rococo period I would say. […] We are living through this particular situation, and that will be the outcome of this pandemic. I’m slightly more negative on this subject because of what I observe and experience: an astounding lack of solidarity. A sociocultural solidarity which has its importance in the wider society."