Yuko Hasegawa


Marlene Dumas

Broken White

Venue : Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (MOT)



Organization : Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo , The Yomiuri Shimbun , The Japan Association of Art Museums

Co-curator : Yuka Uematsu,Masami Yamamoto

The paintings of Marlene Dumas are open.
At times they exhibit an almost careless degree of sweet vulnerability, while at others a wickedIy predatory and disturbing quality. Still others display a tension and urgency that seems to deflect the viewer's gaze.
By consciously allowing various elements of the work to remain undetermined or unsettled, Dumas arouses the viewer's imaginative powers. This undetermined quality is by Do means a weak or timid vagueness; rather, it is the ambiguity resulting from a purposeful refusal to specify, a complexity and multiplicity of inherent elements that cannot be manifested as a single, univalent form. This powerful ambiguity is produced by the mixing of disparate elements. The moment of "Eureka!" when Dumas discovers her subject in the world around her resembles the profound caprice of God the Creator Her works are, as often as not, autobiographical. Particularly when she deals with such extremely primal emotions as anxiety, violence, and sensuality, her method of perceiving and experiencing her world primalIy, in the first person, is reflected.
This is not only Dumas's raw, unmediated method but at the same time also an indication of the psychological and emotional impact she intends the viewer of her work to experience. She takes found models (images) of the most easily affecting subjects of all, human beings, and fleshes them out in such a way as to enchant the viewers and stir their imaginations.
Dumas describes how she begins the process of producing meaning by saying that models wait for artists to give them meaning.
The first meaning of her work, its meaning for her as the artist and creator, is produced when she transforms the object she has chosen into an image. Numerous subsequent meanings are produced by the viewers, each of whom brings different ideas and feelings to the work. Dumas is sketching the depths of the edge of chaos from which meaning is continually emerging; at the same time, her audiences draw additional, perhaps contradictory meanings from her work as they engage with it on a personal level. This complex, unfolding process of mutual interaction resembles an act of love that gradually builds to climax through a slow, incremental process. This method is a form of eroticism in itself, quite distinct from the eroticism of the works themselves .

"Open Paintings- Between Coldness and Passion" (Excerpts from the catalog text)