Marlene Dumas takes it to church

South African painter will recreate the creation myths on an 18th century altarpiece in Germany
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Broken Mirror (1988-89) by Marlene Dumas
Broken Mirror (1988-89) by Marlene Dumas

As well as her intensely moving portrait paintings, one of the others things we really love about Marlene Dumas's work are her incredibly pervy ink drawings of strippers, models and male and female porn stars. Indeed, if you're only aware of that particular side of her practice you could be forgiven for thinking that the clergymen of St Anne’s Church in Freiberger Platz, Dresden have briefly taken leave of their minds in commissioning her to augment the fading fresco on their altar. 

 

Broken White (2007) - Marlene Dumas
Broken White (2007) - Marlene Dumas

The piece in question, the Conversion of St Paul, was created by the German painter Osmar Schindler in 1910. Schindler's art was badly damaged during the Second World War, and has now all but disappeared. 

Dumas says that, in creating a new piece for the church, she plans to paint multiple pictures, “to work with a structure of fragmentation, like a tree of life with different images on oval or round panels, hanging from its branches”.

 

 

Marlene Dumas, Barbie, the Original (1997)
Marlene Dumas, Barbie, the Original (1997)

Though she admits she's intimidated by the prospect of painting within the 18th century church, she says she has been given a great deal of freedom, and she plans to depict “different creation myths through the ages—how different cultures imagined how the world came to be and how the human condition is represented.” As one of Phaidon.com's favourite painters, we really can't wait to see how she interprets all this. 

Although the altarpiece won’t be unveiled until late next year, you can a good grasp of this important artist’s life and work by buying a copy of our monograph, here.

 

Marlene Dumas photographed by Merlijn Doomernik 2014
Marlene Dumas photographed by Merlijn Doomernik 2014


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