Marlene Dumas

The Private versus the Public

I am against
general ideas
the nude
the appropriation of images
the mystification of the untitled 
the glorification of artistic doubt 
the fuzzy edges of sensitivity 
old sins
and useless guilt


Notes on the Private versusthe Public
the individual vsthe group
the artistthe (his/her) public
the studio spacethe gallery space
the working conditionsthe exposition situations
the time of execution (maturation?) the time of consumption (temporality)
the intimicy of the snapshotthe posed official photograph
the referential aspect of ‘realist’ figurationthe general appeal of abstraction (nonhistorical)
the specificthe universal
THE NAKEDTHE NUDE
private problems public media
private solutions political disasters
the confessionthe TV talkshow
(the interview in a gossipcolumn or newspaper)
the intentions of the artist the ‘explanations’ of the critic (promotion or put down)
private embarrassment public jokes

Don’t talk to strangers
the body as problem vsthe body as privilege
the male sex as oppositionthe male sex as equal (equally vulnerable)

The Private versus the Public. First published in Marlene Dumas (cat.), Art and Project | Galerie Paul Andriesse | Van Krimpen | The Living Room, Amsterdam, 1987; 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 [Notes on the Private versus the Public was handwritten on a leaflet handed out separately during the show, together with Notes on my Text and No more Interviews].