Marlene Dumas

The 7 Year Itch

Many things have happened in these seven years since I’ve last written. We have lost some of our friends and artists. Some got damaged beyond repair, some left and some came back. We’ve turned grey and established. Like a Beckett play it goes. We can’t go on. We go on.

From one Place to too many Places
As an artist in my 40’s, having by now shown in many places and having collaborated with many different people, I don’t know what I want anymore. I don’t know why to say yes and why to say no. There is much to be said for loyalty, but how much loyalty can one woman bear. Now I don’t only have my home gallery to worry about, but also all the one night stands. But then, everyone needs a hand to chew on.

Fresh Blood
A good gallery is a gallery that knows when to change. I’ve been told that the traditional cinema theatre is dying, getting lighter and lighter (leaving its black box). Let’s hope the galleries dim the lights of their white containers and go darker.

Cheap Thrills and the Mid-life Crisis
The gallery is closer to Magdalena than to Maria. I always wanted a gallerist that dressed like a pimp. I always wanted to be a cheap artist and a rich woman. What went wrong?

Showing and selling
You know you’re in trouble when you’ve moved from privilege to duty and from pleasure to pressure.

I don’t like that word anymore.

Artists of the Gallery (see the 7 Year Itch)

Paul Verhoeven (Home? Don’t mention that emotion).
I found out that I had something in common with the man who made Basic Instinct and Total Recall. When asked what he feared most, he said – psychoses. When the familiar becomes strange.

The 7 Year Itch. Originally published in Art Gallery Exhibiting: The Gallery as a Vehicle for Art [alongside ‘From one dirty Place to Another’, 1989], Galerie Paul Andriesse | Uitgeverij de Balie, Amsterdam, 1996, p.177; and included in Marlene Dumas, Sweet Nothings. Notes and Texts | Politics (of Art), first edition Galerie Paul Andriesse and De Balie Publishers Amsterdam, 1998; and second edition (revised and expanded) Koenig Books London, 2014.