Tuyman's 'Ceiling' clearly embodies the cinematic and photographic influences that pervade the majority of his work. Throughout his oeuvre, the artist has alluded to procedures such as enlargements, croppings, and close-ups of pre-existing visual material. 'Ceiling' is striking in the evocation of a snapshot; it is the painted depiction of a camera pointed, perhaps accidently, at the ceiling of a room.
The classical centrepoint is abandoned in this painting, and the focus rests solely on a section of the ceiling. This is an area that is usually a part of the background, rather than the action. It is almost always a subsidary element of a composition, and its prominence in 'Ceiling' gives the impression that the image has been cropped. For Tuymans, any genre of painting such as landscape, still-life or portrait is interchangeable with another, as long as a palpable tension is created through devices such as cropped perspectives or intense contrasts.
'Ceiling' is characteristic of Tuymans' work in that it exemplifies his penchant for portraying apparently empty rooms in which the distorted or accentuated perspective results in spatial disturbance or a feeling of claustrophobia. The absence of people from the composition does not imply their exclusion from the work altogether. The focus on the ceiling implies that there may well be people below, in the space that has been cropped from view. Their presence is merely suggested, or whispered, rather than tangibly represented. This is reminiscent of Tuymans' haunting depiction of gas chambers and the architecture of concentration camps in which people are notable for their absence. A story is suggested rather than made explicit, rendering it both poignant and disturbing. The extreme melancholy of Tuymans' interiors comes from the artist's ability to avoid the sensational or dramatic at all cost.