Marlene Dumas

Contra o Muro

The first mark is the worst.
The drawing of a line cuts the paper in two.
The drawing of maps and borders turns neighbours into foreigners.
Within military cultures whole generations of children have grown up,
thinking only in enemy-images.

Art is a way of sleeping with the enemy.

I have enormous respect for the photojournalists who risk their
lives in order to show us what is happening in the here and now.
I am not trying to improve their work. I am not a direct witness.
I am a studio artist. I travel in my imagination, or should it be,
I ‘live’ in my imagination.

I don’t want Israel to be destroyed.
I want the occupation of Palestine to end.
I want us to stop the Second World War,
so we can stop the Third World War.
But that cannot be painted. Walls can be painted.

For me painting never felt like a window or a mirror of the world.
Maybe I see it more like a door with a NO ENTRY sign,
or a letter with ‘Return to Sender – Address Unknown’ written on it.
Or a checkpoint.

Contra o Muro.First published as Contra o Muro. Marlene Dumas 2010 (cat.), Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves, Porto, 2010, p.57; and included in Marlene Dumas, Sweet Nothings. Notes and Texts, second edition (revised and expanded) Koenig Books London, 2014.