Marlene Dumas

The most complete and up-to-date monograph on the celebrated painter’s work.

Survey by Dominic van den Boogerd, Interview by Barbara Bloom, Focus by Mariuccia Casadio, Artist's Writings by Marlene Dumas, Update by Ilaria Bonacossa


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Marlene Dumas is celebrated around the world for her highly charged depictions of the human form. In her oil paintings, drawings and watercolours she captures the body in all its states, from pain to pleasure, eroticism to pathos, birth to death. These works often focus on the body as a contested site with regard to issues such as race, pornography and illegal immigration, but they also address such timeless themes as mortality, sexuality and childhood. Above all, they express a boundless faith in the power of painting to communicate complex psychological realities with eloquence and humour.

Born in Cape Town, South Africa, in 1953, Dumas has lived in Amsterdam since 1976. Though her art developed during a period marked by Conceptualism and neo-Expressionism, it steered its own course between the two. Her paintings’ emotional charge and personal content serve as counterpoints to an almost clinical presentation of the figure – typically close-cropped and centered on an undefined ground – just as her energetic brushstrokes play off her dispassionate source imagery, ranging from newspaper clippings to Polaroids.

Dumas has exhibited internationally since the late 1970s, and her work has been the subject of major solo exhibitions at museums such as the Tate Gallery in London (1996), the Centre Pompidou in Paris (2001) and the Museum of Modern Art in New York (2008). It has also been featured around the world in major group exhibitions such as Documenta (1982, 1992) and biennials in Sydney (1984, 2000), São Paulo (1985), Johannesburg (1995), Venice (1995, 2003, 2005) and Shanghai (2000).

In the SURVEY Dutch art critic Dominic van den Boogerd examines Dumas’s work in relation to a range of conceptual legacies in depictions of the human figure. For the INTERVIEW New York artist Barbara Bloom discusses with Dumas issues ranging from intellectual process to the representation of the self in art. Journalist and former Editor of Vogue Italia Mariuccia Casadio looks at the painting Josephine (1997) in the FOCUS, reflecting on the iconic legacy of its subject, Josephine Baker. For her ARTIST’S CHOICE Dumas has selected two authors: Oscar Wilde, whose story ‘The Fisherman and His Soul’ inspired the artist’s early series of works on the theme of mermaids; and Jean Genet, whose autobiography Le Journal du Voleur (1949, trans. Thief’s Journal, 1964) finds transgressive beauty in the criminal underworld. Marlene Dumas has often acted as a spokesperson for her work, and ARTIST’S WRITINGS features many seminal texts on her own art as well as meditations on love, religion, politics and a discussion of Goya’s painting The Fates. Ilaria Bonacossa’s UPDATE provides a complete overview of Dumas’s recent paintings and drawings, charting themes in each successive body of work from 1999 to the present.


Format: Hardback
Size: 296 x 256 mm (11 5/8 x 10 1/8 in)
Pages: 240 pp
Illustrations: 210 illustrations
ISBN: 9780714845845

Ilaria Bonacossa is Curator at Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin, where her exhibitions have included ‘India: The Sub-Contingent’ (2006) and the series ‘D-Segni’ (2004). She is a regular contributor to Flash Art, Contemporary and Mousse magazines.

Barbara Bloom is an artist based in New York. Her work, which has roots in Conceptualism and encom-passes photography, installation and graphic design, has been featured in solo exhibitions at venues including the Serpentine Gallery in London (1990), the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (1998) and the International Center of Photography in New York (2006). In 1988 she was awarded the Aperto prize for best young artist at the 43rd Venice Biennale (1988).

Dominic van den Boogerd is a critic, an art historian and, since 1995, Director of the Amsterdam’s De Ateliers programme for artists. From 1993 to 1995 he was Chief Editor of Metropolis M, and he continues to write for a number of journals and magazines, including Frieze, De Witte Raaf and Parkett.

Mariuccia Casadio, a freelance writer on contemporary art, fashion and design, is a regular contributor to Vogue Italia and L’Uomo Vogue. From 1986-90 she was Editor of Vogue Italia, and from 1990-93 she was Interview’s Editor at Large.

On the Contemporary Artists Series

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"Gives the reader the impression of a personal encounter with the artists. Apart from the writing which is lucid and illuminating, it is undoubtedly the wealth of lavish illustrations which makes looking at these books a satisfying entertainment."—The Art Book

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