MARLENE DUMAS, OPEN-END | ITSLIQUID

MARLENE DUMAS, OPEN-END

Art | July 16, 2022 |

Marlene Dumas Palazzo Grassi 001
Image courtesy of David Zwirner, Marlene Dumas and Palazzo Grassi, Photo: Marco Cappelletti con Filippo Rossi

Marlene Dumas, Open-end
Palazzo Grassi, Venice
April 27, 2022 – January 08, 2023

From Sunday 27 March 2022, Palazzo Grassi presents ‘open-end’, the first comprehensive solo show exposing the work of Marlene Dumas in Italy, as part of the cycle of monographic shows organised by the Pinault Collection dedicated to major contemporary artists.

Marlene Dumas Palazzo Grassi 002
Image courtesy of David Zwirner, Marlene Dumas and Palazzo Grassi, Photo: Marco Cappelletti con Filippo Rossi

Marlene Dumas (1953, Cape Town, South Africa) chose the title of the show and explains it as follows: “I thought a lot about what binds all my works together, trying to find a title that would also reflect my state of mind and my perception of the world around me. I thought about the lockdown, about being locked and about the museums that are closed to the public and that Palazzo Grassi will have to be open to present this exhibition. Then I thought about the word ‘open‘ and about how my paintings are open to different interpretations. In my works the viewer immediately sees what I painted but does not yet know the meaning of it. Where the work starts is not where it ends. The word ‘end‘, which in the context of the pandemic has its own implications, is both fluid and melancholic”.

Marlene Dumas Palazzo Grassi 003
Image courtesy of David Zwirner, Marlene Dumas and Palazzo Grassi, Photo: Marco Cappelletti con Filippo Rossi

The exhibition was curated by Caroline Bourgeois in collaboration with the artist. It brings together over one hundred works from the Pinault Collection as well as from international museums and private collections. The focus is on the artist’s recent work including paintings created with the Venetian exhibition in mind and has been broadened by a selection of paintings and drawings achieved between 1984 and today.

Marlene Dumas Palazzo Grassi 004
Image courtesy of David Zwirner, Marlene Dumas and Palazzo Grassi, Photo: Marco Cappelletti con Filippo Rossi

The exhibition unfolds over the two floors of Palazzo Grassi and retraces the founding themes of Marlene Dumas’ artistic research through a poetic rhythm, sometimes at a fast pace, sometimes more slowly, with works of small dimensions and others very large, as if the exhibition somehow echoed the artist’s own definition of poetry: “Poetry is writing that breathes and makes jumps and leaves spaces open, so we can read between the lines”.

Marlene Dumas Palazzo Grassi 005
Image courtesy of David Zwirner, Marlene Dumas and Palazzo Grassi, Photo: Marco Cappelletti con Filippo Rossi

A most influential artist on the contemporary art scene, Marlene Dumas was born in 1953 in Cape Town, South Africa. She grew up and studied fine arts during the Apartheid regime. In 1976, she came to Europe for further studies and settled in Amsterdam, where she still lives and works. Marlene Dumas today works mainly with oil on canvas and ink on paper. Her work largely consists of portraits and human figures, which are universal representations of the full spectrum of human emotions.

Marlene Dumas Palazzo Grassi 006
Image courtesy of David Zwirner, Marlene Dumas and Palazzo Grassi, Photo: Marco Cappelletti con Filippo Rossi

A crucial aspect of her work is her use of pre-existing images from which she draws inspiration, be it images from newspapers, magazines, or films, be it film stills or polaroids she herself has taken. Of her work, she says: “I am an artist who uses second-hand images and first-hand emotions”.

Marlene Dumas Palazzo Grassi 007
Image courtesy of David Zwirner, Marlene Dumas and Palazzo Grassi, Photo: Marco Cappelletti con Filippo Rossi

Love and death, gender and race, innocence and blame, violence and tenderness are among the topics she addresses and through which the intimate sphere evokes socio-political aspects, news stories, and main topics of art history. Her work is based on an awareness that the endless flow of images we see daily impacts our perception of ourselves and our ability to read the world. In the more recent years, literature and poetry from Shakespeare to Baudelaire formed her inspiration as well.

Marlene Dumas Palazzo Grassi 008
Image courtesy of David Zwirner, Marlene Dumas and Palazzo Grassi, Photo: Marco Cappelletti con Filippo Rossi

Marlene Dumas‘ work focuses on the representation of human figures dealing with the most intense emotions and paradoxes: “Painting is about the trace of the human touch. It is about the skin of a surface. A painting is not a postcard.”As the artist herself states and Ulrich Loock underlines in his text in the exhibition catalog, “Some criteria for the choice of the images that are taken into consideration for painting might be rooted in Dumas’ personal biography, for example in the separation from a lover […].

Marlene Dumas Palazzo Grassi 009
Image courtesy of David Zwirner, Marlene Dumas and Palazzo Grassi, Photo: Marco Cappelletti con Filippo Rossi

The decisive factor can, however, also be more markedly general conditions, for example, her youth spent under apartheid; a corresponding sensitivity for the situation of the “Wretched of the Earth, “those deprived of their rights in the Congo, in Algeria or in Palestine; a fundamental, politico-moral position against racism and discrimination on the basis of gender; or a stand taken for a form of ‘eroticism’ matching her ‘urge towards unruly forces of life and chance, against sober systematic formulations.

Marlene Dumas Palazzo Grassi 010
Image courtesy of David Zwirner, Marlene Dumas and Palazzo Grassi, Photo: Marco Cappelletti con Filippo Rossi

While moral questions stimulate her, it is her awareness of how these are experienced in and through the body that is central to her work.”Elisabeth Lebovici adds in her text in the catalogue, “If the figures return, it’s that they have already once been there. Perhaps not there at Palazzo Grassi, exposed for the first time. But they have already been there, at least once, not as paintings, but rather as images. Indeed, this is customary for Marlene Dumas and the generation of painters and photographers who work after printed images and texts.

Marlene Dumas Palazzo Grassi 011
Image courtesy of David Zwirner, Marlene Dumas and Palazzo Grassi, Photo: Marco Cappelletti con Filippo Rossi

[…] This operative process of indirect ‘return’ allows, as she has said, for painting ‘anything without asking the permission of-or negotiating with-the original subject that has been photographed, because our ‘model‘-that is, all photography-has become public property. We do not have to be where the scene is taking place.”

Marlene Dumas Palazzo Grassi 012
Image courtesy of David Zwirner, Marlene Dumas and Palazzo Grassi, Photo: Marco Cappelletti con Filippo Rossi

By dedicating to Marlene Dumas her most important show in Italy to date, Palazzo Grassi intends to share with the public an exhibition, a cycle of events, and special content to better understand the production of one of the most outstanding artists of the present. The exhibition is accompanied by a free publication with texts written by Marlene Dumas, a podcast with the participation of the artist and other guests, and a catalog published in co-edition by Palazzo Grassi – Punta della Dogana in collaboration with Marsilio Editori, Venice, and includes texts by Elisabeth Lebovici, Ulrich Loock and Caroline Bourgeois.

more. www.palazzograssi.it

Marlene Dumas Palazzo Grassi 013
Image courtesy of David Zwirner, Marlene Dumas and Palazzo Grassi, Photo: Marco Cappelletti con Filippo Rossi
Marlene Dumas Palazzo Grassi 014
Image courtesy of David Zwirner, Marlene Dumas and Palazzo Grassi, Photo: Marco Cappelletti con Filippo Rossi
Marlene Dumas Palazzo Grassi 015
Image courtesy of David Zwirner, Marlene Dumas and Palazzo Grassi, Photo: Marco Cappelletti con Filippo Rossi
Marlene Dumas Palazzo Grassi 016
Image courtesy of David Zwirner, Marlene Dumas and Palazzo Grassi, Photo: Marco Cappelletti con Filippo Rossi
Marlene Dumas Palazzo Grassi 017
Image courtesy of David Zwirner, Marlene Dumas and Palazzo Grassi, Photo: Marco Cappelletti con Filippo Rossi
Marlene Dumas Palazzo Grassi 018
Image courtesy of David Zwirner, Marlene Dumas and Palazzo Grassi, Photo: Marco Cappelletti con Filippo Rossi
Marlene Dumas Palazzo Grassi 019
Image courtesy of David Zwirner, Marlene Dumas and Palazzo Grassi, Photo: Marco Cappelletti con Filippo Rossi
Marlene Dumas Palazzo Grassi 020
Image courtesy of David Zwirner, Marlene Dumas and Palazzo Grassi, Photo: Marco Cappelletti con Filippo Rossi
Marlene Dumas Palazzo Grassi 021
Image courtesy of David Zwirner, Marlene Dumas and Palazzo Grassi, Photo: Marco Cappelletti con Filippo Rossi

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