Marlene Dumas

The Muse is Exhausted

The muse is exhausted
because she smiles too much.

The muse is exhausted
because she works overtime.
There’re too many men and women
that feed from her breasts.

The muse is exhausted
because she has to pour the water
of inspiration, as well as make art
herself and bear children.

The muse is exhausted
because linear time has been abolished.
Everything is here and now
and present tense.

The muse is exhausted
because the nights are never dark
anymore. All that neon confuses the
Night Creatures. They say that owls
and other such animals find it difficult
to sleep because our lights are

The muse is overexposed.
Too much light.

The muse is overloaded.
She is too busy to be reflective.

The muse is overprotected.
Not to be confused with respected.

The muse is pale and melancholic.
An European with a colonial past
and an authoritarian father.

The muse has lost her integrity.
Her tricks have become common

The muse is anachronic.
(Error in computing of time).

The muse is psychopathic.
She takes too much and
reveals too little.

The muse is famous
too many face lifts, pep pills
and talk shows.

The muse is exhausted
too many bodies and not enough
soul. She’s got the porno blues.

The Muse is exhausted is an amended version of a fragment from the lecture by Marlene Dumas in the series ‘De muze is uitgeput’, given on 16 October 1990 in W139 in Amsterdam; 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 [under 1993 instead of 1990].