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Luc Tuymans, painter: "I just hope people will not find that beautiful! "

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Luc Tuymans, in 2019, at the Palazzo Grassi. Work in the background: "Disenchantment" (1990), oil on canvas, private collection. MATTEO OF FINA / PALAZZO GRASSI

Named after Antwerp in 1958, the painter Luc Tuymans exhibited at the invitation of François Pinault in Venice, at the Palazzo Grassi, a set of 80 paintings realized from 1986 to the present day. It is not a retrospective, however, because the artist has placed his exhibition under the aegis of a novel Curzio Malaparte published in 1949, The shovel (The skin, Editions Denoà «l), brutal description of the immediate aftermath in Italy.

Your painting is not really gay … |

We live in interesting times! It's a little bit because of that I worked from Malaparte, who was a writer-victim of the story. In a time, maybe like today, where Europe was in the penniless. The title of the exhibition follows that of his novel The shovel, but I found Kaputt [le roman autobiographique de Malaparte, publié en 1944] much more interesting. He's a great writer. Moravia, however, said of him that he was an idiot. Megalomaniac, that's for sure. But the wrong, the true, it's my interest. And, in Italy, they love à ¢ â,¬Â | A beautiful lie, itâ € ™ s my business. A painter can never be honest. We need dishonesty to say something, otherwise we are completely stuck. Look at Anselm Kiefer: he is sincere, the great German master! A lot of culture, but not irony, not humor. It's painful, when even … But my work is not gay, and it's never been. It's better to be pessimistic, like that you've never been disappointed.

Read also Luc Tuymans, the live memory

You only have 80 works, which is not enough |

Because I have a responsibility to the general public – not to Mr. Pinault, not at all. It's important to me. From the beginning, to my gallery owners â € "I have been working with the same for a quarter century â €" I said: one third of what you sell should be deposited in museums, public places. In Venice, it is the general public who will see my paintings. So I wanted a lot of air between the paintings, that we can see them clearly. No texts on the walls, no documents, because you should not underestimate this audience-there. I just hope people will not find that beautiful!

Why ?

When I'm in Madrid, I'm going to see Goya's black paintings, or the Very mayo. Goya, for me, is one more interesting than Velasquez, which I like a lot. But Goya is not seductive. Like Courbet, his painting is difficult. This is not to please, we feel something else. A completely isolated guy, and a great painter.