Danish painter Tal R on ghosts, art and obscenity: 'I think sex is quite banal'
By Alastair Sooke
"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.
Image: Tal R, Chez La Souris, 2017. Pigment and rabbit skin glue on canvas, 240 x 200 cm, 94 1/2 x 78 3/4 in