Marlene Dumas

Three Maria’s are better than One

The Model, the Muse, the Slave and the Patron Saint of Hairdressers

When once asked to comment on the matter,
I said that the Muse was tired.
And – yes, indeed –
everybody needs a break now and then.
But ‘tired’ does not mean ‘exhausted’,
and it definitely doesn’t mean ‘dead’.

She’s well paid and satisfied.
She knows she’s got what you ain’t got.
She knows how to keep secrets
and how to show that she’s got some.

She’s got the power to withhold information,
to refrain from confession,
to abstain from need.
And if you tell her she’s got a beautiful body,
she would not hold it against you.

Apparitions and Illusions or ‘Kill the Moonlight’

I have once written:
between the motif
and the traces of the hand
falls the shadow.

Now I’d like to add:
between the model and the source,
between the source and the act,
between the act and the consequences,
iconography becomes self-deception.

Three Maria’s are better than One. Originally published in Dumas, Roosen, Van Warmerdam (cat), Venice, 1995; 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.