Dirt Road, 2003

Dirt Road was first presented in New York for the exhibition Fortune. All the exhibition artworks referred one way or another to the state of the world after 11 September 2001, in particular in the United States. The painting doesn’t show anything in particular, only a bit of sidewalk at night seen from above and from a sideways angle. This could be an image from a surveillance camera placed above a street door, or our own view when looking through the window to see who is ringing the door bell. The space is closed-off but at the same time seems to escape from all sides. Similarly, given that each texture is precisely, painstakingly detailed, the viewer is drawn into the depth of each layer of paint even though in reality they would only encounter insurmountable opacities. This is typical of Luc Tuymans’ paradoxes: to open ways out or possibilities in the representation when, in reality, everything would seem inescapably closed and obtuse. In other words, breaking with the fanaticism and fatalism that is at the heart of the emerging suspicion and surveillance society.