Marlene Dumas

Drawings and the People who look at them

Three Blind Mice
throwing the dice.
Playing it safe
in the places between art and life.
Closing my eyes when they
throw the knife.

When I paint, I try not to be silly,
but when I draw I don’t care,
I’ll do anything for a dare.

What about the imagery of pornography?
Am I amoral and maybe just giving
the people what they want,
or is it just for the money?
(wouldn’t that be funny!).

Art means
never having to say
you’re sorry.

Drawings are only a few lines on paper.
Therefore it’s easy to carry around
in plastic bags.

Drawings are cheaper than paintings.
They don’t pretend that they’ll
last forever.

Drawings are streetwise and still
to be found in toilets, too.

Drawings and the People who look at them. Originally published in Fön, no.3 (July|August 1993), p.2; 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.