press release

Helsinki Festival presents the first extensive exhibition of Marlene Dumas to be seen in the Nordic countries

During the Helsinki Festival, Kunsthalle Helsinki will offer a unique opportunity to see works by one of the hottest names in contemporary art, Marlene Dumas. The show presents an exceptionally broad retrospective of the artist's production from the 1970s up to the present. Born in South Africa in 1953, Dumas lives and works in the Netherlands. She is known for her masterful watercolours and subtle portraits. Her work enjoys an established status in major art museums and galleries and fetch unprecedented prices at auctions. Dumas' work is currently on exhibit at the main venue of the Venice Biennial. Exhibitions of her work have been relatively rare in the Nordic countries, and the present show is the largest of its kind here.

Marlene Dumas' paintings are a profound exploration of the human condition, of sexuality, birth and death, as well as psychological and philosophical themes. The show in Helsinki will include Female, a series of 211 female portraits that examines the representations of femininity, the gaze and the process of depiction and interpretation.

"I don't admire only one type of woman - I love many types of women. But it's also not only about reaching to interpreting images of women, it's also about the joy of creating beings that do not exist in real life. It's more about the pleasure, but will always stay unknown," says Dumas.

In addition to Female, the exhibition includes about thirty large oil paintings, gouaches and watercolours, as well as rare early drawings and sketches from the 1970s.

Female and many of the other works in the exhibition are on loan from the private Eberhard Garnatz Collection in St├Ądtiche Galerie Karlsruhe. There are also works from the artist's own collection, other private collections, as well as art museums and galleries in Europe.

The Marlene Dumas exhibition is organised in co-operation with the Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden in Germany. Part of the exhibition will be seen in October at the Nordic Watercolour Museum in Sweden. With financial support from the Mondriaan Foundation, Amsterdam.

A lavishly illustrated book Female will be published in conjunction with the exhibition, with articles by Oliver Kornhoff, Maija Tanninen-Mattila and Matthias Wintzen.

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Helsinki Festival presents
Marlene Dumas