Mitja Tušek

Born in 1961 in Maribor, Slovenia
Lives and works in Brussels, Belgium


Of Slovenian origin, the Swiss artist Mitja Tušek exhibits since the mid-80s. His paintings play of figuration and abstraction. The figurative paintings are almost abstract, and in abstract paintings the presence of the image is never completely evacuated. The materials he uses are part of this ambivalence : wax, lead, interference pigment, by their power of absorption or reflection, they induce an ambiguous perception of the image; we guess it more than we see it and yet we retain an almost palpable presence from it.
Life on Mars

In the exhibition entitled Life on Mars, Swiss artist Mitja Tušek captures the ambiguity of "living things" through pictorial creations that waver between representation and abstraction, protocol and chance.
First the large paintings from the Cercles series started in 2015 evoke the genre of portrait. Cercles 2018 consists of more group portraits. Each dislocated figure is a combinatory variation of nine black disks of various diameters arranged on a pale background that appears both unified and shifting since it is made of prismatic pigments that reflect the whole chromatic spectrum based on light orientation. The circular geometric punctuations hold a symbolic meaning: they represent the nine orbs of Dante's inferno as well as lighter sign-images -grotesque variations around Mickey Mouse. The blinding smudges also evoke the abstract face machine conceptualized by Deleuze: "white wall- black hole(s)".
Then, female nudes deceive their very academism through forms that emancipate and break free from their design and toward shapeless chaos. "To remember that a painting, writes Maurice Denis at the end of the 19th century, before being [...] a female nude [...] is essentially a plane surface covered with colors assembled in a definite order." Here, each acrylic canvas is precisely the result of a concretion of successive layers of pictorial matter residues. Based on the same creative process, each layer of glossy paint thinly laid on one canvas is immediately transferred onto a second one while still fresh in order to obtain a replica, a print of the ephemeral matrix. Each canvas is therefore laminated with an accumulation of about sixty printed transfers. These thin pictorial layers give live to female figures distorted by the materiality of their pictorial flesh. They dissolve in reversed symmetry and the strangeness of a non-iconic resemblance, a "contact resemblance." Reversibility and dissimilarity are at the very core of printing. With Femmes nues, 2004-2011, matrix and print merge. Which one is the other side? These painting transfers cast some doubt.
The Peintures texte series, 2009-2018, exacerbates this symmetrical reversibility through playing the process of the famous Rorschach tests again. But beyond the visibility of these imaginary projection surfaces and the perception of their sensitive materiality, one can simultaneously read vertical words lying under the pictorial signifier. Like a both visual and textual chiasm, the faces of a same coin echo one another: "Pride/Shame". But also "What should we do?" This quote borrowed from Lenine and Mario Merz (in his work Che Fare, 1969), expresses a both existential and political questioning while reflecting the viewers' unsteadiness, their hesitation between what they would like to see and what they are able to conceive. Aren't all visible things wrapped up in an invisible coat? "You only have to look around you to see life on Mars", says Mitja Tušek with seriousness and humor.

Anne Favier


The show, Mitja Tušek's fourth with the gallery, will offer a first glimpse into a new series entitled 'Circle Paintings', in which black circles (always nine of them) of varying size floating on a background of interference paint sometimes fuse into one another and always suggest, in their combination, a figure that never quite materializes. Those familiar with Tušek's work will immediately recognize formal similarities and shared concerns between the works in this new series and in the 'Text Paintings'. In the latter, the artist folds the canvas over to create a mirroring effect, and the mirrored word produces a Rorschach stain that wavers somewhere between the legible, the purely abstract and the strangely figurative, though, here too, we can never quite settle on what figure they adumbrate.

Both series use interference paint, which varies in colour and shading in relation to our position and to the light, and lends movement to the work. The attention to movement and the attempts to bring it into painting without falling into the gimmicky has been a running thread of Tušek's work. He first drew the attention of the art world with his wax paintings, shown at Documenta IX. Some of these are figurative, but the layer upon layer of pigment and wax lend to a ghostly quality to the figurative elements, which, under certain conditions, seem almost to disappear. Others are first experienced as impenetrably shallow monochromes reflecting nothing other than our own shadow; but then, suddenly, a change of light or viewing position can open up a deep well, as if the inscrutable mirror had dissolved to reveal its liquid depth, or forms we could not have imagined there but a second before, or simply the traces of the waxing knife. In an earlier series, the artist uses lead for his support, thus essentially exposing the compositional elements and colours to the oxidation the medium is susceptible to: over time the colours lose their lustre and the forms merge into the support, surviving as little more than a memory.

A distinguishing, and admirable, quality in the work of this Swiss/Slovenian painter living in Brussels is that it raises these questions without ever seeming pedantic or moralizing. Tušek's work is a rare thing these days: if it can be incredibly self-aware without dissolving into naval gazing and reducing its context to a set of easy truisms, it is precisely because its self-awareness is born from an eye - playful, sardonic, tongue-in-cheek - aware of the gaze of the other and always attuned the mysteries just beyond the frame.

Emiliano Battista
Solo shows at Ceysson Gallery
Mitja Tušek, Wandhaff
June 12 - July 30, 2021

Mitja Tusek, Saint-Etienne
April 26 - June 02, 2018

September 05 - October 17, 2015

Mitja Tušek, Saint-Etienne
October 02, 2014 - January 09, 2015

Mitja Tusek, Genève
May 02 - June 29, 2013

Mitja Tušek, Luxembourg
September 08 - November 05, 2011

Group shows at Ceysson Gallery
Spring Saint-Étienne, Saint-Etienne
June 12 - July 25, 2020

10 YEARS in Luxembourg, Wandhaff
June 02 - August 04, 2018

“The lines of life are various, like roads and the contours of the mountains…”, Wandhaff
September 10 - October 29, 2016

La Ligne Passée, Luxembourg
June 30 - September 16, 2012

La Ligne Passée, Luxembourg Art Moderne
June 30 - September 15, 2012

Solo Shows

Mitja Tusek, Complementary Colors, Galerie Baronian Xippas, Brussels, Belgium
Mitja Tusek, Galerie Ceysson & Bénétière, Wandhaff, Luxembourg

Mitja Tušek, Life on Mars, Galerie Bernard Ceysson, Saint-Etienne, France

Small World, Albert Baronian, Brussels, Belgium

Mitja Tušek, Don't make me repeat it, Galerie Bernard Ceysson, Saint-Etienne, France

Mitja Tušek, Galerie Bernard Ceysson, Geneva, Switzerland

La Ligne Passée, Galerie Bernard Ceysson, Luxembourg

Great Balls of Fire, Etablissement d'en face Projects, Brussels, Belgium
Mitja Tusek - success and Failure, Galerie Bernard Ceysson, Luxembourg

In de Wind, centre culturel Strombeek, Grimbergen (Strombeek-Bever), Belgium
Pantalone, centre culturel Strombeek, Grimbergen (Strombeek-Bever), Belgium
Pantalone, centre culturel Mechelen, Malines, Belgium

In the Future Even The Past Will be Better, LLS387 Ruimte voor actuele kunst, vzw, Antwerp, Belgium

Galerie Nelson, Paris, France

New Paintings, Kohn Turner Gallery, Los Angeles, USA
Galerie Nelson, Paris, France

No doubt, Galerie Xavier Hufkens, Brussels, Belgium
Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, United-Kingdom

Laura Carpenter Fine Art, Santa Fe, USA

Somehow, Anyhow, L'Aquarium, École des Beaux-Arts, Valenciennes, France
Galerie Nelson, Paris, France
Galerie Paul Andriesse, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Galerie Bob van Orsouw, Zürich, Switzerland

Quelconque, Fundatio Joan Mirò, Barcelona, Spain
Galerie Nelson, Paris, France
Galerie Bruges la morte, Bruges, Belgium

Galerie Paul Andriesse, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana (cat.), Slovenia

Galerie Bruges la morte, Bruges, Belgium
Galerie Nelson, Lyon, France

Galerie Froment & Putman, Paris (cat.), France
Shedhalle, Zürich (cat.), Switzerland

L'Ecole de Nîmes, Nîmes (cat.), France

Centre d'art contemporain, Geneva, Switzerland

Objets photographiques, Galerija Ars, Maribor (cat.), Slovenia

Group Shows

Printemps , Galerie Ceysson & Bénétière, Saint-Étienne, France

Too much is not enough! The Donation "Artelier Collection", Neue Galerie Graz, Graz, Austria
Salon de Peinture, Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium

Lolo's Entanglements, De Warande, Turnhout, Belgium

The shop facing the corner, Baronian Xippas, Brussels, Belgium

Index, Galerie de Multiples, Paris, France
Eminent Domains (proper names), Robert Miller Gallery, New York, USA
Echoes, ING Art Center, Brussels, Belgium

Biennale de la peinture, Roger Raveelmuseum, Museum Dhondt-Daenens, Museum van Deinze, Deurle , Deinze, Belgium

Cadavre Exquis. A Figure of Painting, LLS 387, Antwerp, Belgium
QNX4, Bruges, Belgium
Le Pont, MAC, Marseille, France
E-Motion, Fondation Maeght, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France

Jeugdzonde. Over opus één en opus min één, LLS 387 Ruitme voor actuele Kunst, vzw, Antwerp, Belgium

25th Anniversary, Galerie Nelson, Paris, France
Géométries variables, Galerie de Multiples, Paris, France
Multiples, La lettre volée, Brussels, Belgium
Curating the library, Singel International Kunstcampus, Antwerp, Belgium

Contrée, FRAC Poitou-Charentes, Angoulême, France

L'effet Larsen, processus de résonnance dans l'art contemporain, Centrum für Gegenwartskunst, Linz, AU & Casino Luxembourg, Luxembourg (cat.)
Peintures, Galerie du Cloître, Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Rennes, France

Michael Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles, USA
Remember Camembert, FRAC Poitou-Charentes, Angoulême, France

A Quiet Storm : Painting in Abstraction, Kohn Turner Gallery, Los Angeles, USA

Abstraction/Abstractions, Géométries provisoires, Musée d'Art Moderne, Saint-Etienne (cat.), France
Radicaal-Beeld, Stedelijk Museum, Schiedam, The Netherlands
Heaven, PS1, New York, USA

The Event Horizon, The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (cat.), Ireland

Pittura/Immedia, Neue Galerie, Graz (cat.), Austria
Pittura/Immedia, Kunsthalle, Budapest, Hungary
Collection fin XX° 1983-1995, douze ans d'acquisition d'art contemporain en Poitou-Charentes, Musée Sainte-Croix, le Confort moderne, Hôtel de Région, Poitiers, France
Color and Structure, Galerie Lelong, New York, USA
Kohn Turner Gallery, Los Angeles, USA

et passim , Kunsthalle Bern (cat.), Bern, Switzerland

The Sublime Void, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp (cat.), Belgium

Documenta IX, Kassel (cat.), Germany

De Pictura, Galerie Bruges la morte, Bruges (cat.), Belgium

Burki, Lanz, Tušek, Voïta, Le Confort moderne, Poitiers (cat.), France
Figures, FRAC Rhône-Alpes, Lyon (cat.), France
Schlier, Tušek, FRAC Poitou-Charentes, Angoulême (cat.), France

Quand voir c'est faire, Salle Crosnier, Geneva (cat.), Switzerland
Centre d'art contemporain, Geneva (cat.), Switzerland
7 Künstler aus den Schweiz-Siebdrucke, Edition Artelier, Forum Stadtpark,
Graz (cat.), Austria

Von Bildern, Kunsthalle Bern (cat.), Switzerland

Echoes, ING Art Management, Brussels, Belgium
Art by Commission, Vlaams Bouwmeester Art Team, Brussels, Belgium
Another Dream, Another Sense, Another Mind, Sint-Lukasgalerie, Brussels, Belgium

De la géométrie sur les murs, L’APAGE, Geneva, Switzerland

Kunst in het Ellipsgebouw, Agentschap voor Facilitair Management & Team Vlaams Bouwmeester, Brussels, Belgium
M.T. Mitja Tušek & Michel Troisgros, Cultuurcentrum Mechelen and Cultuurcentrum Strombeek, Grimbergen

Mitja Tušek. Brussels: La Lettre Volée.

Abstractions provisoires. Saint-Etienne: Musée d'Art Moderne.

Pittura/Immedia. Graz: Neue Galerie.
Collection, fin XX° 1983-1995, douze ans d'acquisition d'art contemporain en Poitou-Charentes. Angoulême: FRAC Poitou-Charentes.

Et passim. Bern: Kunsthalle Bern.

Quelconque. Barcelona: Fondation Miro.
The Sublime Void. Antwerp: Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten.

Mitja Tušek. Ljubljana: Moderna Galerija.
Documenta IX. Kassel.

Mitja Tušek. Paris: Galerie Froment & Putman.
Mitja Tušek. Zürich: Shedhalle.
De Pictura. Bruges: Galerie Bruges la morte.

Mitja Tušek. Nîmes: L'École de Nîmes.
M.-J. Burki, E. Lanz, M. Tušek, B. Voïta. Poitiers: Le Confort moderne.
Daniel Schlier, Mitja Tušek. Angoulême: FRAC Poitou-Charentes.
Figures. Lyon, Saint-Priest: FRAC Rhône-Alpes.

7 Künstler aus der Schweiz-Siebdrucke. Forum Stadtpark. Graz: Edition Artelier.

Quand voir c'est faire. Geneva: Salle Crosnier.

Objets Photographiques. Maribor: Galerija Ars.
Von Bildern. Bern: Kunsthalle Bern / Geneva: Centre d'art contemporain.


Claude Lorent, « Des vivions révélatrices », Art libre, no. 309

Yoann van Parys, « Que fait le peintre entre deux expositions, le coureur cycliste entre deux courses, le présentateur de télévision entre deux enregistrements? », Flux News 57

Christine Jamart, "Naked painting", L'art même n°47, 2d trimester, p. 33.

Luk Lambrecht, "Mitja Tušek krijgt eindelijk de expo die hij verdient bij LLS387 in Antwerpen", Knack, January 14.
Indra Devriendt, ART, January 22.
bart Van Peel, Zone 03, Februrary 4-17.

Valérie de Maulmin, Connaissance des Arts n°641, September, p. 174.
Michel Troisgros, (website), September.
Frédéric Bonnet, "Tour des Galeries Rentrée émotive", Journal des Arts, October 6-19, p. 25.

Françoise-Aline Blain, "L'effet Larsen, vies parallèles et aiguës", Beaux Arts Magazine n°216, May, p. 36.
Christine Jamart, "Mitja Tušek : l'abstraction est une fiction comme une autre", L'art même n°15.
Maxence Alcalde, (website), March 8 - April 13.

Valère Bertrand, L'Oeil n°520, October, p. 90.

"La peinture en recouvrements", Journal des Arts n°12, March.
Eric Suchère,- "Mitja Tušek", Beaux-Arts Magazine, September.
Claude Lorent, "Mitja Tušek", Art & Culture n°6, February.
"Mitja Tušek, Somehow, Anyhow", ddo, bulletin trimestriel d'information en Art Contemporain de l'Eurorégion Nord n°17, March-April.
"Esthétique de la disparition", Regards, Le Magazine de la Ville, Valenciennes n°16, March-April.
Michael Tarantino, "Review", Frieze, Nov-Dec.

Michael Tarantino, "Review", Artforum, February.

Luk Lamprecht, "De picturale Koregrafie van Mitja Tusek", De Morgen, November 5.
Françoise-Claire Prodhon, "Review", Flash Art, October.

Daniel Kurjakovic, "New Swiss Art", Flash Art n°165.
Jan Middendorf, "Mitja Tušek", Metropolis M n°3.

"Was", Knack n°27.
Julika Funk, "Mitja Tušek, Verspiegelte Bildflächen", Du n°8.
Manuel Jover, "Le tableau aveuglé de Mitja Tušek", Beaux-Arts Magazine n°93, September.

Olivier Zahm, "Mitja Tušek/Galerie Froment-Putman", Art Press n°146, March.

Lysianne Léchot, "Deux et deux font quatre", Faces n°10.


Robert-Jan Muller, KM n°9.
À la galerie Ceysson, les travaux aux variations lumineuses de Mitja Tusek
La tribune Le progrès - Clément Goutelle
May 15, 2018
Voir le fichier
April 25, 2019
The lines of life are various...
The lines of life are various...
November 03, 2016