artist / participant
With almost two hundred drawings and paintings from private and museum collections throughout the world, Marlene Dumas – The Image as Burden is the first major solo exhibition of Dumas in the Netherlands in 20 years. It is the most comprehensive retrospective survey of her work in Europe to date and presents a compelling overview of her oeuvre from the late 1970s to the present. In addition to her most important and iconic works, the exhibition also presents lesser-known paintings and drawings, including many works never before seen in the Netherlands, and a selection of her most recent paintings. The title of the exhibition is derived from the work The Image as Burden (1993), which refers to the conflict between the painterly gesture and the illusion of the painted image.
The Stedelijk presentation features a number of exclusive highlights, such as a gallery devoted to drawings that have come straight from her studio, which have rarely – if ever – been on public view, and the 100-piece series Models from the collection of the Van Abbemuseum. The survey at the Stedelijk also places greater emphasis on the works produced between 1976 and 1982, when Dumas’s career in Amsterdam began.
After many years, the key work in her oeuvre, Love vs Death (1980), which opens the exhibition, is once again on display. Also included are a selection of Dumas’s most recent paintings, such as The Widow and Nuclear Family, both from 2013, and a number of watercolor drawings from the series Great Men (2014), the remainder of which is currently on view at Manifesta in St. Petersburg.
The exhibition closely examines the key themes and motifs that Dumas has developed throughout her artistic career. Special attention is devoted to the works on paper that Dumas produced in the early years after her arrival in the Netherlands, when she also exhibited her work for the first time at the Stedelijk Museum and Museum Fodor (1978-81). Themes such as love, death and longing, and the use of texts and images found in the mass media – which are also explored in her late paintings – are evident in these early works, too.