A Girl for all Seasons

From these statements there’s nothing you
can check and little you can predict.
Perhaps you’re asking:
Who is responsible for these works?
You probably mean:
Whose fault are they?

I’ve not come
to propagate freedom.
I’ve come to show the disease symptoms
of my time.
I’m a good example of everything
that’s wrong with my time.

Reduce – still, static, sober and systematic, they say,
the universal is not served
by references to the recognizable, the time-specific;
excess of necessity leads to ruin,
it’s only the dumb
who don’t wish to be released from this earth,
they say.

You – stranger – keep your distance.
I do not seek happiness in fulfilment,
but in the intensity of emotions.
And know that I can never love you
but will always avoid you
to spare you my eyes.

My works bear their names,
like one has to bear one’s own history.
Drunk with associations and incest,
contaminated by all kind of illness and prejudices,
deliberately wounded,
so that they will not become arrogant
and forget their very innards.

Where is the eroticism in the art of my generation?
My generation cherishes loneliness
prizing it even above sex.
They are so sensitive,
they are allergic to each other.

A Girl for all Seasons consists of fragments of a text that was originally published in Dutch as ‘n meisje vir alle geleenthede, Het Moment, no. 3 (1986), p.63-66; it is included in Marlene Dumas, Sweet Nothings. Notes and Texts, first edition Galerie Paul Andriesse and De Balie Publishers Amsterdam, 1998; and second edition (revised and expanded) Koenig Books London, 2014.