Marlene Dumas




35 × 45 cm

Edition of 100 copies, signed and numbered by the artist


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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)



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