Palazzo Grassi presents a major solo exhibition by Marlene Dumas (1953, Cape Town, South Africa), as part of the programme of monographs dedicated to great contemporary artists which have alternated with thematic exhibitions of the Pinault Collection since 2012.
The exhibition entitled "open-end" is curated by Caroline Bourgeois in collaboration with Marlene Dumas, and presents over 100 works, tracing a path through her pictorial production. This path comprises a selection of paintings and drawings, ranging from 1984 and arriving from the Pinault Collection, international museums and private collections.
Considered one of the most influential artists in the contemporary art scene, Marlene Dumas was born in 1953 in Cape Town, South Africa where she grew up and studied fine arts during the brutal apartheid regime. In 1976 she moved to Europe to continue her studies and settled in Amsterdam, where she still lives and works today. While in the early years of her career she was known for her collages and texts, Dumas today works mainly with oil on canvas and ink on paper.
Most of her work consists of portraits that represent suffering, ecstasy, fear, despair, but are often also a commentary on the very act of painting. One crucial aspect of Dumas' work is the use of images from which she draws inspiration, taken from newspapers, magazines, film stills or personally-shot polaroids.
She says of her work: "I am an artist who uses second-hand images and first-rate experiences". Love and death, gender and racial issues, innocence and guilt, violence and tenderness: these are some of the themes of her work, in which the intimate sphere is combined with socio-political issues, news stories or the history of art. Marlene Dumas' work focuses on the representation of human beings struggling with the paradoxes of the most intense emotions: "Painting is the trace of human touch, it is the skin of a surface. A painting is not a postcard."