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Symbolic Mosaic at Palazzo Grassi

Schwarzheide by Luc Tuyman addresses moral complexities.

Schwarzheide 2019

Schwarzheide, a site-specific installation at Palazzo Grassi, Venice, is the centerpiece of Luc Tuyman’s first personal exhibition in Italy. The large-scale, marble mosaic covers eighty square meters with over 200,000 hand-cut marble tiles. It was assembled by the renowned Milanese company, Fantini Mosaici, who also created the mosaics for the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi.

The artwork is a reproduction of Tuyman’s 1986 painting which was inspired by a drawing produced by Alfred Kantor, a survivor of Schwarzheide, a German forced-labor camp. The drawing shows pine trees planted around the camp to conceal the horrors within from the outside world.  Symbolically, the image dissolves when viewed from a close perspective, but is fully revealed when seen from the balustrades overlooking the atrium.

Luc Tuymans, The Arena I, II, III, 2014, Private collection, Singapore. Installation View at Palazzo Grassi, 2019
© Palazzo Grassi, Photography by Delfino Sisto Legnani e Marco Cappelletti

Tuyman’s exhibition La Pelle, curated by Caroline Bourgeois and the artist, is a retrospective that includes more than eighty works by the renowned Belgian who is considered one of the most influential painters on the international art scene. The show runs through January 6, 2020.

As Caroline Bourgeois states: “Whilst taking inspiration from existing images, Luc Tuymans’ approach to painting has nothing to do with perfect representation, but rather with taking a risk…. his work could be better described as conceptual, rather than figurative….. his work is being silent… He does not intend to take the visitor by the hand, he is asking him to make an effort to come closer; a reflection and a physicality instead.”


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