Danish Tal R is one of the most striking artists of his generation with a strong and growing international reputation. Since the 1990s he has exhibited all around the world, particularly in Europe, and his art is represented in many major collections.
During the past decade Louisiana has established a distinctive collection of works – especially paintings – by Tal R (b. 1967). It was therefore natural to round off the Louisiana trilogy of contemporary artists with painting as their central practice: Peter Doig in 2015, Daniel Richter in 2016 and now Tal R.
The exhibition title Academy of Tal R should be understood as a mildly humorous provocation, since Tal R’s artwork always appears free, wild, searching, vital and simply unacademic. Through an overview of his work from the past twenty years and a series of new works, the exhibition showed that Tal R from the outset has been a storyteller with a special eye for the overlooked, hidden and repressed spaces of modern life. In his art and thinking, Tal R is constantly interested in everything that goes against conformity.
The exhibition was organized by Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in collaboration with Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. It was supported by Beckett-Fonden, Lemvigh-Müller Fonden and Merla Art Foundation.
Vivid mix of old and new works
It has been twenty years since Tal R made his debut in the museum world with his participation in The Louisiana Exhibition 'New Art from Denmark and Scania' in 1997. Twenty years on, Academy of Tal R presented a colourful and motley overview of his entire artistic career since then. The exhibition was shown in Louisiana’s Hall Gallery, Column Gallery and East Wing and comprised paintings, drawings, collages, artist's books and sculptures from the period 1995 until today.
In the course of the past year the artist has produced two distinctive work suites for the exhibition: Habakuk and Deaf Institute. Habakuk consists of eight very large paintings with a train carriage as subject, on which the word ‘Habakuk’ and a colon are written. Habakuk is a pet name Tal R and his siblings gave their father during their childhood.
Deaf Institute – a highly personal and poetic work – consists of 99 large drawn and painted collages in upright format, hung in a giant labyrinth in the Hall Gallery. The collages show all sorts of signs, words – and sometimes whole sentences – mixed with recognizable fragments from earlier works. Both work groups were being shown for the first time.
Doig & Richter & Tal R – a powerful sequence
It is no coincidence that a comprehensive presentation of Tal R (born 1967) follows the recent Louisiana showings of Peter Doig (born 1959) and Daniel Richter (born 1962). All three of them are figurative painters, know one another and tell stories from and about our time – and they all have an emancipated attitude to the medium of painting. It may be difficult to work out why they actually became painters, but painters they are, and paint they do – apparently undaunted by the claims about the death of painting that typified their generation during their youth.
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Louisiana Channel spent six months with Tal R, while he was in the process of making his series of enormous railcar-paintings, ‘Habakuk’.