‘The Arena’ is a set of three monochrome prints on handmade paper, based on three paintings from 2014 entitled The Arena I, II, III. Published by Talbot Rice Gallery in Scotland.
Tuymans made a total of six paintings in 2016 on the occasion of the retrospective of his work in Doha, Qatar. They are based on 8mm movie images that Tuymans made in early 80ies of his 1978 work ‘The Arena’. It represents a collage with a number of cut figures at different heights and mounted on a blurry painted background, on tracing paper. In this early work, the artist portrayed a shadowed voyeur viewing an indistinct, theatrical scene composed of collaged fragments raise to various heights sandwiched between a blurred painted ground and a translucent screen. This image is partly inspired by the ‘black paintings’ and ‘Atropos’ of the Spanish painter Goya.