The Image as Burden
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Marlene Dumas is one of the most prominent painters working today. Her intense, psychologically charged works explore themes of sexuality, love, death and shame, often referencing art history, popular culture and current affairs – themes you can explore through related events.
‘Secondhand images’, she has said, ‘can generate first-hand emotions.’ Dumas never paints directly from life, yet life in all its complexity is right there on the canvas. Her subjects are drawn from both public and personal references and include her daughter and herself, as well as recognisable faces such as Amy Winehouse, Naomi Campbell, Princess Diana, even Osama bin Laden. The results are often intimate and at times controversial, where politics become erotic and portraits become political. She plays with the imagination of her viewers, their preconceptions and fears.
Born in 1953 in Cape Town, South Africa, Dumas moved to the Netherlands in 1976, where she came to prominence in the mid-1980s.