Friday, December 19, 2008

Marlene Dumas at the MoMA

The New Yorker, December 22 & 29, 2008

Peter Schjeldahl writes on the Dumas exhibition at the MoMA:

There is a heaviness to the paintings of the South African-born, Dutch-based artist Marlene Dumas, as if they might fall off the wall and break the floor. And yet they are thinly brushed, for the most part, on ordinary canvases. There's a flypaper stickiness about them, too, though their usual surface is matte and dry. The impressions are emotional.

*

Her art rarely conveys feeling so much as excites it and then absorbs it, to the benefit of the work's authority. She doesn't give; she takes.

*

[Of "Stern" (2004), based on Gerhard Richter's "October 18, 1977" (1988), itself in turn based on photographs of the Baader-Meinhof militants] she drags the drama of a particularly haunting tragedy back to the secondhandedness of the photograph from the thirdhandedness of Richter's painting. By this and analogous uses of imagination, Dumas suggests, a life of feeling may be sustained in times that can seem engineered to crush it.


Artwork on newyorker.com

No comments: