This is an issue that came to mind when we paired the work of Luc Tuymans with that of Ilias Papailiakis and Wilhelm Sasnal.
How does the memory of an image relate to the image of a memory? Figurative painting has an affinity with memory, as both are constructs of mental activity, relating past and present. Images do not arise when a painter stops looking at an image nor at the moment the brush touches the canvas. They are mental constructs, determined by social and ideological filters and -in art- steered by artistic intent. Painting from memory and painting from life are more closely related than would be expected.
In Flemish Village Tuymans paints a sober image of the idyllic Flemish village of Lissewege. The church tower, which looks rather squat, has been cut off so that the space is even more claustrophobic. Similarly, but more in an attempt to capture things rather than in creating a distant echo of memory, Sasnal paints sea mines from a museum on the Polish coast, and the room in eastern Germany in which his father stayed as a guest worker. Papailiakis makes an attempt at painting a nocturnal landscape from memory from a trip to a place defined as the “East”.
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Vlaams dorp [Flemish vil...
Luc Tuymans, Vlaams dorp [Flemish village], 1995. Artist Novel, oil, canvas, 110.5 x 144.5 cm.