24 March 2009
With Luc Tuymans and Boris Charmatz

Video recordings of the lecture

Host Karim Benammar

The aftertalk with Luc Tuymans and Boris Charmatz

Luc Tuymans


Roughly a work of virtuosity is an artwork produced with an exuberance of great technical skill and within the framework of a specific discipline. In that sense, virtuosity is connected to a conventional standard of quality that de?nes a ‘received’ hierarchy of aesthetic values. In the 16th and 17th centuries, ‘virtuoso’ was used as an honorific term reserved for a person distinguished in any intellectual or artistic field. Nowadays the concept of virtuosity has moved away from notions such as excellence and distinction and seems to have become synonymous with craftsmanship and mere technical prowess. What is the status and place of a notion as virtuosity in an epoch in which the borderline between mastery and ordinary ability has dramatically shifted?


Boris Charmatz (FR) is dancer, choreographer, co-founder of association edna (1992), since January 2009 director of the Rennes and Brittany National Choreographic and guest teacher at the Universität der Künste (Berlin). Parallel to his choreographic practise – “A bras le corps” (1993), “Aatt enen tionon” (1996), “Herses (une lente introduction)” (1997), “Con forts fleuve” (1999), “héâtre-élévision” (2002) and “Régi” (2006), a.o. – he engages in developing projects with association edna that aim to find workmodes and means of presentation which restore critical potential, richness and suppleness to dance performance, and to dance itself. In 2003 Boris Charmatz published the book “Entretenir/à propos d’une danse contemporaine” (Keeping Up/a dance that is contemporary), a work co-signed by Isabelle Launay, co-edited by the Centre national de la danse and les presses du réel. Boris Charmatz continuosly develops atypical projects, such as the nomadic and ephemeral school Bocal that was part of his residence at the National Dance Centre in Pantin, gathering fifteen students from various idiomatic horizons (2003-2004). Presently he is preparing “Je suis une école”, a book not yet published.

Luc Tuymans (BE) is considered one of today’s most influential painters. He studied fine art at the Sint-Lukas Instituut in Brussels and subsequently art history at Vrije Universiteit in Brussels. His work is figurative and makes extensive use of techniques from photography, television and film, such as cropping, framing, sequencing and (sometimes extreme) close-ups. Most or practically all of Tuymans’ images are based upon already represented imagery, but he always tries to focus on specific meanings reaching beyond what is represented. Subjects of his paintings range from the historic, for example covering the Holocaust or colonial politics in Belgian Congo, to the very banal, depicting everyday objects. His work is largely included in prominent international museums as the MoMA (New York), the Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris) and the Guggenheim Museum (New York). Tuymans participated in Documenta IX (Kassel, 1994) and in 2004 he had an extensive one-man show in Tate Modern in London. In 2009/2010, The Museum of Modern Art San Fancisco, The Dallas Museum of Art and the Wexner Centre for the Arts in Columbus, celebrated the artist with a solo exhibition.

Boris Charmatz

The aftertalk