Marlene Dumas

Valentines Day

Why do I so often write in the style of love about art? Because the talk of forbidden lovers and the language of art have a lot in common.

Love is the most wonderful when it has to live in secret, when it isn’t really allowed; when it is sanctioned by everyone, and the lovers now officially belong together, it’s nature changes.

Secret love knows that it is almost always time to go. Other loves have their fears too, but then they believe they have the right to be jealous. But if you’re ‘wrong’ to start off with, you can’t speak of having ‘rights’. You understand that if the beloved leaves, it’s because that is how it ‘should’ be.

With art the best part is when you make something that seems to be against what you thought you believed in. And yet, you know that that’s what you want.

René Magritte on love: ‘A man is privileged when his passions oblige him to betray his convictions to please the woman he loves.’

Valentines Day. Written in 1997 [together with Always true] as Epilogue for the first edition of Marlene Dumas, Sweet Nothings. Notes and Texts, Galerie Paul Andriesse and De Balie Publishers Amsterdam, 1998; also included in the second edition (revised and expanded) Koenig Books London, 2014.