Marlene Dumas


or the mega Model meets the holy Whore

It’s not the fallen woman
nor the temptress I’m after.
It’s not the baby dolls I want
nor the Amazons. It’s everything
mixed together to form
a true bastard race.

Painting is my oldest subject
Fashion is my newest
and Beauty is my youngest.

On Beauty

(They say) Art no longer produces Beauty,
She produces meaning, but

(I say) One cannot paint a picture,
or make an image of a woman
and not deal with the concept of beauty.

A Queen of Spades [1]

Where does the Black Model come from?
Some dark
blue place
where the sun always shines?
From an old African
postcard and Naomi Campbell’s
legs in Vogue.
From the city
from her liking
and hating
From Giacometti,
from the brothel
in Avignon,
from Mary
of Egypt,
from everywhere
these days.

[1] That’s what Courbet called Manet’s Olympia

Models. Originally published in Marlene Dumas, Models (cat.), Salzburger Kunstverein | Portikus | Neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst, Salzburg | Frankfurt am Main | Berlin, 1995-96, passim; 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.