A lecture by Marlene Dumas
Approximate duration: 90 minutes
Marlene Dumas (b.1953, Cape Town, South Africa)
Marlene Dumas states that in her work she uses 'second-hand images, first-hand emotions.' Most of her paintings are based on found images; photographs and stills from magazines, newspapers and films, or Polaroids that she has taken herself. She regards these source materials as 'part of our collective unconscious; they picture our collective guilt, our poses, and our prejudices.' Her highly sophisticated figurative work features unsettling themes including politics, racism, religion, death and sexuality, but the explicit subject matter is less important to her than the ambiguities and problems of representation; its language, methods and ethics. Her images frequently exploit photographic effects and techniques such as cropping, bleeding, blurring and distortion. Mentioning that she's always been interested in different views of reality, Dumas says: 'I believe that a painting is a new thing, a thing in itself, not an illustration of something else. Even if it refers to real-life objects or situations, in the end it does not really represent anything else. It is what it is.'