Marlene Dumas

Blind Dates and drawn Curtains

What’s love got to do with it?
What’s love but a second-hand emotion?
Tina Turner

I am an artist who uses
second-hand images
and first-hand experiences.

If you’ll be my blind date
I will be yours.

And if we still like one
another in ten years time,
we can call it
love at first sight.

The more I paint and draw, or rather, the more exhibitions I have, the less I feel like talking about them beforehand or explaining them afterward. The less I feel like burdening my audiences with food for thought or providing unnecessary (arrogant) crutches to lean on. As if I, by definition, see better than they what I have done. They will not interrogate me and I will not lift up my skirt for inspection, or let the veils fall. Art will not be my slave-market. I will not open my mouth to allow my teeth to be counted by those who count. Art, unlike other love portions, does not induce action. It does not leave torn curtains or bruised lips. Instead of being noisy, it makes you hold your tongue. Instead of making you cry, it freezes your tears. Instead of making you jump up and down, it stops your motion.

It might be exorcism, but it’s not revenge. It might be not enough, but it’s very close. It might not expose anything, but it draws beautiful curtains.

Art is in love with time. It needs time, it takes time, and it steals time in order to survive in time and be quiet enough to display the silence that betrays everybody and everything.

Blind Dates and drawn Curtains. Originally published in Marlene Dumas (cat.), Goldie Paley Gallery | Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia, 1993;  and 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.