The Shore, 2014

Luc Tuymans uses all the techniques of cinema and photography. He frames his subjects in original ways and uses close ups, blur, day for night and overexposure. Surrender refers to the opening scene of Don Chaffey’s 1968 film Twist of Sand. An ex-Royal Navy officer is confronted with his past when he has to travel back to the Skeleton Coast near Angola to retrieve a load of diamonds. He is haunted by an episode from World War II of a seek and destroy mission of a German submarine and the killing of its crew. This trauma is strongly expressed in the opening sequence of the film, where the crew members are seen emerging from the dark one after the other with their hands up to signal they are surrendering. This painting is rare in Luc Tuymans’ oeuvre, as the artist usually refuses to use black. But here, it sublimates the drama of the scene similarly to Francisco de Goya’s black.