Allo! I, 2012

First shown together with Peaches and Technicolor in 2012 in London, Allo! I is part of a series of six paintings that are based on a series of television screens showing the movie The Moon and Sixpence by Albert Lewin (1942). The film is based on William Somerset Maugham’s eponymous novel (1919), a romanticized biography of Paul Gauguin. Luc Tuymans is particularly interested in the last minutes of the restored version of the film, which shifts from black & white to an explosion of colors in the scene where a friend of Paul Gauguin’s visits his cabin after his death and is stunned by the gigantic, colorful paintings hanging on the walls. The friend sees them as a vision of the Eden that the artist had always tried to reach but never managed to. In Allo! I, we can see Luc Tuymans’ reflection on a screen as he is taking a picture of the scene. We thus witness a visual game mixing art, reality and fiction with an artwork representing an artist as he is taking a picture of a man looking for an artist who happens to actually be looking for himself, as is almost always the case with Luc Tuymans. The title is a reference to a parrot that lived in a bar close to the artist’s studio in Antwerp and that would always welcome visitors with a squeaky, exotic “Allo!”, a sort of joyful irony which is perfectly attuned with Luc Tuymans’ personality. The parrot has now passed.