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…the South African artist might be the world’s most un-famous famous artist stated the Guardian lately… as well as her work held the record for being the most expensive by a living female artist… Marlene Dumas has prodigious energy… her provocative works are celebrated for her investigations of the human condition… a state of mind… an extraordinary mix of immediacy and intimacy, and often controversial subject matter… Marlene Dumas almost cherishes the physicality of the human touch in her works… faces and the human figure in general are her main subjects… trying to questioning gender, race and sexuality… guilt and innocence, tenderness and violence… sometimes familiar forms become terrifying images… Marlene Dumas is constantly playing with the imagination of the spectators, their fears, emotions, preconceptions… all of life’s multifaceted complexities… the apartheid South Africa where Marlene Dumas was born in 1953 and grew up, was almost devoid of mass media… newspapers and magazines were censored… but she clipped and saved all the images and photographs she could get… as for her they seemed more authentic than what was surrounding her… such found images from tabloids and glossies are still her great inspiration… “I use second hand images and first hand emotions”, she once wrote… there is nothing pretty or consoling in her work… but all her images are utterly touching… her work is a testament to the meaning and potency of painting… the communicative power of art… as Marlene Dumas has an almost magic capacity for making meaning!

Marlene Dumas “The Image As Burden” is at Tate Modern from February 5th – 10th May

Have a look at:


Reinhardt’s Daughter 1994
Collection of Liz and Eric Lefkofsky, Chicago
© Marlene Dumas

Cupid 1994
Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Michael and Eleonore Stoffel Stiftung
© Marlene Dumas

The Teacher (Sub A) 1987
Private collection
© Marlene Dumas

The Painter 1994
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
© Marlene Dumas

Installation photograph © Tate Photography 

Text by Claudia Antonia Merkle

POSTED BY cts-klee
February 18, 2015