Toon Tullemans is an artist who has been active in multiple facets of the art world. He has not only been engaged in the making of objects but is also an art historian. Throughout Tullemans career a main theme can be detected is transcience. This can be sub-divided into subjects such as growth, evolution, identity and decay of life and death. He is fascinated by the loss of what once was, trying to capture this essence in an imaginative way. Fluctuation in all matters of life is not only Tullemans preferred subject matter but can also be found in his materials and methods of creations.
Although his works consist of a fascinating aesthetic, they can evoke a sense of disgust. These seemingly contradictory perceptions can be found in perfect harmony in Tullemans artwork. His aspiration is to have this paradox present at all times, while pushing the limits of what is possible. To consistently have the experience of this paradox present, the title of his works often solely refer to the object itself.
His choice of material too is a purposeful decision. Clay gives him the opportunity to work with both the temporal and the seemingly timeless. Fresh clay is cold, wet, heavy and thereby quickly forms in any imaginable way. However, it also features aspects that counteract the imagination, because it dries, shrinks, deforms and ruptures. In an unbaked state the clay statue is as vulnerable as our feelings and therefor seems to have characteristics that are similar to those of a living being. However, when the clays is baked the same image seems indestructible.
Recently, Tullemans has added synthetic material to the clay. By covering the statue with this synthetic layers he has created a world where the object seems imprisoned yet protected. Interestingly enough, this symbiotic relationship between these materials can too be found in the way the react to each other. Clay and synthetics at times can cause a literal explosion. They seem to be reaching for each other’s destruction, yet need each other to exist.