Corporate: works from Luc Tuymans' latest solo show

Exploring the phenomenon of the corporation and it's subtle control over our everyday lives
Luc Tuymans, Panel (2010)

1 / 5 Luc Tuymans, Panel (2010)

Luc Tuymans, Butterfly (2010)

2 / 5 Luc Tuymans, Butterfly (2010)

Luc Tuymans, Speech (2010)

3 / 5 Luc Tuymans, Speech (2010)

Luc Tuymans, Gold (2010)

4 / 5 Luc Tuymans, Gold (2010)

Lu Tuymans, Corporate (2010)

5 / 5 Lu Tuymans, Corporate (2010)

Luc Tuymans' latest body of work, currently on show at the David Zwirner Gallery in New York (until 21 December 2010), focuses on the phenomenon of corporations; their self-serving nature and the influence their activities hold over an unsuspecting populace. The images consider how their abstract, formal structures impact decision-making and ultimately shape everyday lives. 

Butterfly, for example, draws a parallel between the evolutionary properties of the moth and the development of the corporation. In both instances camouflage is important, making it difficult to differentiate real from fake. Panel, taken from a digital photograph of a real discussion event between the Director of Bozar, art scholar Hans de Wolf, documentary film-maker Manu Riche and the artist himself, seemingly mirrors the carefully staged format of the corporation, and its specific, pre-determined rules. Corporate, from which the exhibition takes it's name, depicts a model tea clipper, which represents the beginnings of the rise of the corporation, when 'corporations were established as a way for the aristocracy to participate in the new economy as the growing independence of burghers challenged the feudal system's monopoly over commercial transactions...they were granted the right to impose trade restrictions, thus limiting the individual's freedom to do business.' 'I remember drawing these clippers as a child,' says Tuymans of the work. 'And then later on in life you understand that these things have a certain meaning. They have an iconic meaning in terms of a power structure in ancient history.'

The series was inspired by the artificial light used by corporations and the works also reflect these themes: in Panel the individuality of the participants is obliterated by the use of harsh lighting, the moth - as depicted in Butterfly - is famed for it's attraction to artificial light, and the tea clipper in Corporate has been rendered as though eerily dark.


The opening of Corporate coincides with the launch of Phaidon's new monograph on the artist, Luc Tuymans: Is It Safe?, which covers Tuymans' work since 2005. Produced in close collaboration with the artist, the work includes more than 100 new paintings, many previously unpublished.

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