Galerija Vartai presents Mercy, a joint exhibition by Zlatko Kopljar and Luc Tuymans from December 9, 2022 to January 27, 2023.
Mercy, a collaborative exhibition by Zlatko Kopljar and Luc Tuymans, is on view at Galerija Vartai. The exhibition is organized as a series of shared and independent presentations that highlight the iconoclasm and analytical complexity of these two artists. Tuymans’ current work in animation, where the influential painter has consistently enlarged the conceptual scope of his art, is juxtaposed with a collection of works by Kopljar developed over the previous decades, integrating performance, sculpture, video, and experimental film.
The title Mercy is a demand. It assumes an urgent need and a basic shortage, positioning the show as a result of loss and disconnection, as exemplified by Kopljar’s K20 Empty (2015) and Tuymans’ Monkeys (2021), which comprise the exhibition’s opening room.
K20 Empty is made up of two concrete cast miniatures of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York and the Tate Modern in London. K20 Empty alters the museum, shifting it from a site of show into an anonymous substance, a depleted code, by stuffing the two buildings in concrete to conceal their inner spaces and the art they are meant to display. Museums occur in the work as keepsakes, as historical recollections. The piece represents their future as history by miniaturizing the two museums, creating a picture of both commemoration and annihilation.
A cluster of Tuymans’ drawings from his animation film Monkeys sits on the wall in front of the entryway. A mechanical toy monkey carrying cymbals moves back and forth in a flickering dark void before being engulfed by black flames in the video. Monkeys’ collapse into single frames follows the logic of Tuymans’ painting approach, which dissociates film stills and photographic records to hand construct superfluous, tired pictures with diluted chromatics and congealed texture, a mute look of an irretrievable time and place. Tuymans’ interest in fragmentary, obscured, drained images stems from his radical notion of historical representation, and, in particular, from his approach to the subject matter of the Second World War, as already demonstrated in several early, seminal paintings informed by absence, void, and indistinctiveness that characterizes the catastrophe through negation, critically emphasizing its total un-representability and the inadequacy of visual evidence.
Curated by Ory Dessau.