Marlene Dumas


If loving you is wrong, I don’t want to be right
Luther Ingram


Green, ghosts, good, God, gone, glow.

I used to think that there was something unusual about my work. I always tried to show that there was something wrong, where others thought everything was allright.

Now, while I sometimes feel that things ain’t that bad all the time, everyone else says that it’s much worse. It seems nobody really feels that life is allright. Everyone is looking for abuse and new laws on pornography, especially since ‘the art world’ discovered ‘the body’ (whatever that means). Ask Courbet, since he is credited, or blamed, for discovering the source.

I used to prefer: hard to soft, black to white, the Rolling Stones to the Beatles, Elvis to Cliff, the moon to the sun… (I still do actually).

I haven’t outgrown my tendencies towards uneasiness, anger, aggression, deep and cheap horror, falling in and out of love…

But there has to be a way to make an art about being in love. An art that is erotic, sexy, tender and filled with a darkness that is awesome, but not sick.

Lovesick. Originally published in Chlorosis – Marlene Dumas (cat.), The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, 1994, p.8; 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.