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Posted August 8, 2010
One of the Finest Monographs of Marlene Dumas
Marlene Dumas is one of those artists that seems to touch everyone who visits her art in a profound way. Though her paintings are deceptively simple in execution, they are so filled with emotional energy and ideas and statements about the world in which we live that she simply cannot be ignored. Divided into six well written sections we are allowed a survey of her place in art today, an overview of her iconic images, interviews with the artist and sections on the artist's choices in the writings of others (Oscar Wilde and Jean Genet) and her own writings about the state of art today and her own art. But these essays and written contributions, important and informative though they are, do not begin to match the impact of slowly leafing through this book of hundreds of images produced in exacting color.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
'What does death have to do with sex? Youth with terrorism? Immigration with desire and mourning? ' These questions supply fodder for her paintings that explore these areas in depth. Many of Dumas' painting are head portraits that immediately jump into the viewer's psyche and hold on forever. Still others are of figures, female and male, exploring their own sexuality, seemingly for us, the viewer, to understand: '10 inch' and 'D-rection' are powerful images of male nudes, while 'Fingers', '(Like a) Chambermaid', 'Morning Dew', and 'Turkish Girl' are equally striking female nudes. There are images of the dead as in 'Likeness 1' and 'Likeness 2', but there are also images of groups of people as in the terrifying 'Young Boys' or the wryly humorous 'We Were All in Love with the Cyclops' and 'Ryman's Brides'.
The book closes with a fine piece of writing by Ilaria Bonacossa: "Thus Dumas's works are constructed around desire that exists only once it is articulated, so that painting itself becomes something of a Lacanian attempt to provide, even if only for a moment, the representation of the lack born from the impossibility of satisfying desire. Just as an image 'takes on meaning through the process of looking', Dumas's work embodies the tension between imagination and reality, as well as the struggle between the eye and the hand - and between the eye and the 'I'." This is a superb book that allows us to truly investigate the reasons why Marlene Dumas has become on of the world's most important artists.