During the cultural city festival Antwerp Baroque 2018. Rubens inspires, Luc Tuymans confronts the genius of Baroque masters with the vision of top contemporary artists. The exhibition Sanguine/Bloedrood, conceived by the artist for the M HKA
(Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp) and Fondazione Prada, wants to overwhelm the visitor by placing key works from the baroque of, among others, Francisco de Zurbarán, Caravaggio and Anthony van Dyck, in dialogue with works by classical contemporary masters, such as On Kawara and Edward & Nancy Kienholz, as well as new works by contemporary stars such as Zhang Enli, Takashi Murakami, Michaël Borremans, Sigmar Polke and Tobias Rehberger. Through a number of exceptional loans, curator Luc Tuymans brings national and international masterpieces to Antwerp, including a splendid selection from the KMSKA, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp. Sanguine/Bloedrood is a visually opulent and challenging exhibition that brings old masters into the experimental spaces of contemporary art.
The term 'baroque' continues to evoke some of its original negative connotations - exaggeration and indulgence - but simultaneously suggests something exciting, something elusive. The M HKA invited Luc Tuymans to present his view on the baroque, precisely to bring this sense of the elusive to the fore. He brushes the dust from the threadbare term, and revisits the intensity and intelligence of the practice. Tuymans chose the evocative, poetic Sanguine/Bloedrood - echoing the energy flow of life and death - as the title for the exhibition. In the first place, the exhibition seeks to explore the tension between various masterpieces from the baroque period and contemporary masters, in an attempt to bridge the gap between old and contemporary art. Both time periods evoke a sense of overwhelmingness, but also of recognizability. And it is precisely this ambitious and ambivalent dialog that makes Sanguine/Bloedrood an extremely relevant exhibition, as a visualization of periods that had both a positive and a negative outlook on the past, the present and the future.
The key work in the exhibition is Five Car Stud, a recently discovered masterpiece by Edward & Nancy Kienholz, which the couple made for Harald Szeemann's legendary documenta 5 in 1972. After the exhibition, the work disappeared for over forty years until it was recently purchased by the Fondazione Prada in Milan. The work is currently part of the Prada Collection. With the approval of the Fondazione Prada - which will present a second version of Sanguine/Bloedrood in Milan - and of Nancy Kienholz, Five Car Stud will be presented in a unique and one-time location: in a dome tent on the Gedempte Zuiderdokken, catapulted back into life. The large sculptural installation shows the execution-like castration of a young Afro-American in the South of the US as a reprisal for alleged sexual relations with a white girl. Five Car Stud immerses the visitor in a nightmare of extreme violence. After more than forty years, the work has lost none of its expressive power, powerful symbolism and urgency.
The surprising choices of Luc Tuymans bring together masterpieces from the fine and contemporary arts in one mental space: the internal world of attention of an artist. Tuymans, himself a figurative painter who constantly seeks to extend the traditional boundaries of his practice, deliberately chose not to set up Sanguine/Bloedrood as an art-historical, canonical overview, but according to his own interpretation. The intensity of the image is his central preoccupation, the artistic decisiveness and the gaze of a creator onto other creators. In this way, an associative, non-linear process emerges, a search for new connections between old and new masters, between vivid works and potential works - or the 'rethinking' of works - between master and apprentice. Sanguine/Bloedrood does not seek to be complete, and deliberately leaves gaps.
The exhibition Sanguine/Bloedrood is a joint organization of the M HKA, the Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp, Studio Luc Tuymans, the KMSKA, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp which is closed for the moment due to renovation works, and Fondazione Prada. Following the Antwerp edition, it will be presented at Fondazione Pradas Milan venue from October 2018 to February 2019.
Sanguine/Bloedrood presents works of John Armleder, Carla Arocha & Stéphane Schraenen, Fred Bervoets, Michaël Borremans, Mike Bouchet, Adriaen Brouwer, Caravaggio, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Thierry De Cordier, Cornelis De Vos, Francisco de Zurbarán, Lili Dujourie, Marlene Dumas, Zhang Enli, Jan Fabre, Lucio Fontana, Marcel Gautherot, Isa Genzken, Joris Ghekiere, Franciscus Gijsbrechts, Pierre Huyghe, Jonathan Johnson, Jacob Jordaens, On Kawara, Edward & Nancy Kienholz, Jukka Korkeila, Dominik Lejman, Takashi Murakami, Nadia Naveau, Bruce Nauman, Johann Georg Pinsel, Sigmar Polke, Tobias Rehberger, Peter Paul Rubens, Yutaka Sone, Henri Storck, Piotr Tolmachov, Pascale Marthine Tayou, Javier Téllez, David Gheron Tretiakoff, Dennis Tyfus, Anthony van Dyck, Jan Van Imschoot, Jan Vercruysse and Jack Whitten.
Curator: Luc Tuymans