‘I like the fan­tasy more than the real’

The Daily Telegraph - Review - - Exhibitions -

Dan­ish artist Tal R tells Alas­tair air Sooke why his cov­eted, colour­ful rful paintings are like strip clubs

‘Par­adis” reads the sign by the en­trance to Tal R’s stu­dio in Copen­hagen. But when I ar­rive, the bark­ing em­a­nat­ing from within sounds more like the hounds of hell. Ten­ta­tively, I open the door to the build­ing – a for­mer print stu­dio that the Is­raeli-born Dan­ish artist has oc­cu­pied for seven years – and a Great Dane called Fanny, who is al­most as tall as my chest, comes bound­ing to­wards me. “Sorry!” cries Tal R, in a high-pitched voice, from the other end of the room. “Fanny is beau­ti­ful and loyal, but she un­der­stands very lit­tle.”

A charis­matic char­ac­ter in a white base­ball cap, Tal R – whose paintings can be found in per­ma­nent col­lec­tions ev­ery­where from Stock­holm’s Moderna Museet to the Art In­sti­tute of Chicago – is strik­ingly boy­ish, de­spite hav­ing re­cently turned 50. His faded yel­low T-shirt re­veals fore­arms cov­ered in tat­toos, which he de­signed him­self. We don’t shake hands, be­cause his are cov­ered with blue paint – since April, he has been pre­par­ing for an ex­hi­bi­tion at the Mu­seum of Con­tem­po­rary Art Detroit, due to open next year.

Be­fore that, though, he will be in Lon­don, for a show open­ing later this month at the Vic­to­ria Miro gallery, where he will dis­play up to 14 can­vases from a body of work that he calls Sexshops. In this on­go­ing series of around 45 paintings (on which he has been work­ing in­ter­mit­tently since 2014) Tal R de­picts the faÇades of brothels, strip clubs, mas­sage par­lours, and other red-light es­tab­lish­ments all over the world, from An­twerp to Los An­ge­les.

I find the most re­cent pic­ture from the series lean­ing against a wall. Like the oth­ers, it is a re­mark­ably flat im­age, com­posed of noth­ing but a nar­row red door in a wall of gor­geous colour com­pris­ing two bands of rus­set and saf­fron, di­vided by a strip of emer­ald green. Above the closed door is a sign em­bla­zoned with the Egyp­tian Eye of Horus, a pair of sin­u­ous, sil­hou­et­ted dancers, and the words “Bar Faraon” and “Kabaret”.

“It’s a bar in Prague,” Tal R tells me. “And ‘kabaret’, in Prague, means some­thing more than just drink­ing. So, this place is dodgy. You don’t know if you want to en­ter.”

Is it a night­club he knows well, I ask, in­no­cently. Tal R laughs. “Of course, I have been inside sex

Draw­ing in the eye: some of Tal R’s ear­lier work, in­clud­ing Lords of Kol­bo­jnik, 2002, left, is on show at Louisiana Mu­seum of Mod­ern Art near Copen­hagen

‘ Bright colours have noth­ing to do with “happy” ’: Tal R’s Chez La Souris, 2017

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.