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Semite, 2004 - Marlene Dumas

Semite, 2004

Marlene Dumas  

Print, Work on paper
35 x 45 cm / 13.78 x 17.72 inch
Edition of 100 copies, signed and numbered by the artist

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  • Medium: Lithopgraph
  • This work is unframed
  • Pick up at / ships from Brussels (BE)


about this work

This edition shows a portrait of a man, judging from the title of Middle-Eastern origin. On first view it’s a simple work: aside from eyes, nose and mouth, not many details are elaborated. In principle, the word *semite* refers to (most of) the inhabitants of the Middle-East, but in the expression *anti-semitism* the association in common parlance is usually with Jewry. As to whether this man is a Jew or an Arab, Dumas leaves open. She suggests that for her the difference does not matter. In her portraits, Dumas’ focus is on the specific individual instead of the generic; she does not make her protagonists into symbols for an overriding problematic issue.


(Courtesy of M HKA, Antwerp - which has this print in its collection.)

about Marlene Dumas

Marlene Dumas is one of the most important painters of our time. Her main interest is the human image. In her paintings and drawings, she avoids anecdotal details or atmospheric foregrounds or backgrounds. Instead, she reduces them until the existential constitution of her figures becomes visible. She prefers the term "situation" for a moment that is immediately touching. Suffering, pain, desire, life, death – Dumas always renders visible the ambivalence of each image, of each feeling. Like a projection surface, her painting mirrors fears and hopes.

Dumas' work often refers to art historical motifs as well as political and social issues. Her portraiture reflects on the complexities of the image and the ambiguous status of painting in visual culture today. Variation as method-perhaps this is the best way to describe her work. She shows us how meaning has become fragmented, which characterizes our current times.

(courtesy of Albertinum)

Solo exhibitions include venues such as MoCA, Los Angeles; MoMA, New York; The Menil Collectin, Houston; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate Modern, London; Fondation Beyeler, Basel; and Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.

Work by Dumas is represented in museum collections worldwide, including the Art Institute of Chicago; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Fondation Beyeler, Basel; Gemeentemuseum, The Hague; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and Tate Gallery, London.

Marlene Dumas is represented by the following galleries;
click through to discover more of her work.

Zeno X, Antwerp 

Frith Street Gallery, London 

David Zwirner, New York / London / Paris / Hong Kong 

You can also discover more of Marlene Dumas’ work on her own website

Learn more about this artist