Jan Hoet at Documenta 9, 1992. Photo: Stefan Dewickere.


JAN BOUGHT my very first painting, The Spirit of Saint Louis, 1988, even before my very first gallery show. He was extremely decisive from the beginning of my art career, as he was for numerous other artists.

In retrospect, his 1992 Documenta 9 was a Documenta for the artists. Just to name a few of them: Stan Douglas, Matthew Barney, Mike Kelley, David Hammons . . . In this Documenta, the visual was the concept.

With the loss of Jan, we are also losing an era—one that was once instigated by people like Harald Szeemann, and which still persists in the figures of Kaspar König and Rudi Fuchs—that propelled the curator into near mythological proportions. Unlike some curators today, Jan was passionate and adamantly uncompromising in his choices, which were born out of instinct and intuition, whereas now most exhibitions are born out of a discursiveness largely derived from 1980s sociology.

I for one will miss Jan because of his electrifying enthusiasm and his sometimes cruel unpredictability. I do think he lived his life to the fullest. And what remains is respect.

Luc Tuymans is an artist living in Belgium.

More reflections on Jan Hoet will appear in the Summer issue of Artforum.