Sanguine/Bloedrood. Luc Tuymans on Baroque


M HKA, Antwerpen

01 June 2018 - 16 September 2018

During the cultural city festival Antwerp Baroque 2018. Rubens inspires, Luc Tuymans confronts the genius of Baroque masters with the vision of top contemporary artists. The exhibition “Sanguine|Bloedrood”, conceived by the artist for the M HKA (Museum of Modern Art Antwerp) and Fondazione Prada, juxtaposes the spirit of the baroque masters with the vision of contemporary top artists. With the exhibition Sanguine/Bloedrood, curator Luc Tuymans aims to overwhelm the visitor by placing key works from the baroque of, among others, Francisco de Zurbarán, Caravaggio and Anthony van Dyck, in dialogue with works by classical contemporary masters, such as On Kawara and Edward Kienholz, as well as works by contemporary stars such as Zhang Enli, Takashi Murakami, Michaël Borremans, Sigmar Polke and Tobias Rehberger. Through a number of exceptional loans, curator Luc Tuymans brings national and international masterpieces to Antwerp, including a splendid selection from the KMSKA, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp. Sanguine/Bloedrood is a visually opulent and challenging exhibition that brings old masters into the experimental spaces of contemporary art.


The term 'baroque' continues to evoke some of its original negative connotations - exaggeration and indulgence - but simultaneously suggests something exciting, something elusive. The M HKA invited Luc Tuymans to present his view on the baroque, precisely to bring this sense of the elusive to the fore. He brushes the dust from the threadbare term, and revisits the intensity and intelligence of the practice. Tuymans chose the evocative, poetic Sanguine/Bloedrood - echoing the energy flow of life and death - as the title for the exhibition. In the first place, the exhibition seeks to explore the tension between various masterpieces from the baroque period and contemporary masters, in an attempt to bridge the gap between old and contemporary art. Both time periods evoke a sense of overwhelmingness, but also of recognizability. And it is precisely this ambitious and ambivalent dialog that makes Sanguine/Bloedrood an extremely relevant exhibition, as a visualization of periods that had both a positive and a negative outlook on the past, the present and the future.

The key work in the exhibition was Five Car Stud, a masterpiece by Edward Kienholz, exhibited for the first time at Harald Szeemann's legendary documenta 5 in 1972. After the exhibition, the work remained hidden from view in the storage of a Japanese collector for almost forty years and it is currently part of Collezione Prada in Milan.


With the approval of the Fondazione Prada and Nancy Reddin Kienholz, Five Car Stud was presented in a unique and one-time location: in a dome tent on the Gedempte Zuiderdokken, catapulted back into life. The large sculptural installation showed the execution-like castration of a young Afro-American in the South of the US as a reprisal for alleged sexual relations with a white girl. Five Car Stud immersed the visitor in a nightmare of extreme violence. After almost fifty years, (Five Car Stud was created in 1969-1972) the work has lost none of its expressive power, powerful symbolism and urgency. Five Car Stud by Edward Kienholz was on display till 2 September.

The surprising choices of Luc Tuymans bring together masterpieces from the fine and contemporary arts in one mental space: the internal world of attention of an artist. Tuymans, himself a figurative painter who constantly seeks to extend the traditional boundaries of his practice, deliberately chose not to set up Sanguine/Bloedrood as an art-historical, canonical overview, but according to his own interpretation. The intensity of the image is his central preoccupation, the artistic decisiveness and the gaze of a creator onto other creators. In this way, an associative, non-linear process emerges, a search for new connections between old and new masters, between vivid works and potential works - or the 'rethinking' of works - between master and apprentice. Sanguine/Bloedrood does not seek to be complete, and deliberately leaves gaps.  


The exhibition Sanguine/Bloedrood is a joint organization of the M HKA, the Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp, Studio Luc Tuymans and the KMSKA, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp (closed for renovation) the City of Antwerp and Fondazione Prada. 

Following the Antwerp edition, a second and new version of the exhibition will be shown at Fondazione Prada’s Milan venue from October 2018 to February 2019.

Sanguine/Bloedrood presents works of John Armleder, Carla Arocha & Stéphane Schraenen, Fred Bervoets, Michaël Borremans, Mike Bouchet, Navolger van Adriaen Brouwer, Caravaggio, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Thierry De Cordier, Cornelis De Vos, Francisco de Zurbarán, Lili Dujourie, Marlene Dumas, Zhang Enli, Jan Fabre, Lucio Fontana, Marcel Gautherot, Isa Genzken, Joris Ghekiere, Franciscus Gijsbrechts, Pierre Huyghe, Jonathan Johnson, Jacob Jordaens, On Kawara, Edward Kienholz, Jukka Korkeila, Dominik Lejman,Takashi Murakami, Nadia Naveau, Bruce Nauman, Johann Georg Pinsel, Sigmar Polke, Tobias Rehberger, Peter Paul Rubens, Yutaka Sone, Henri Storck, Piotr Tolmachov, Pascale Marthine Tayou, Javier Téllez, David Gheron Tretiakoff, Dennis Tyfus, Anthony van Dyck, Jan Van Imschoot, Jan Vercruysse, Jack Whitten

Curator: Luc Tuymans

Read the e-pub for Sanguine/Bloedrood. Luc Tuymans on Baroque here.

Antwerp Baroque 2018. Rubens inspires pays homage to Peter Paul Rubens and his baroque, cultural heritage. During the festival, the spotlights will be on Peter Paul Rubens, one of the most influential artists ever and the most famous inhabitant of Antwerp. He personifies the baroque period and is an important source of inspiration for contemporary artists and the atypical lifestyle of the city and its inhabitants.

The cultural city festival tells a story about baroque, in the past and the present, and creates a dialogue between historic baroque and the work of contemporary artists, with city and the world as the décor. Antwerp Baroque 2018. Rubens inspires is a key event in VisitFlanders' Flemish Masters programme. It promises to be explicitly extroverted and to combine artistic originality with authentic hospitality.

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