30 July 2015
Native of the subconscious
30 July 2015

Simultaneously with the Gauguin's exhibition, a retrospective of the modern Dutch artist Marlene Dumas was going on in Fondation Beyeler. Its incredible psychological works are capable of touching the deepest chords of the soul.

Her works cost a pretty penny. In 2004, Marlene Dumas became the first modern artist whose artwork had been sold for more than $1 million. In 2008, Dumas deserved the name of the most expensive artist in the world, when her depiction of prostitutes was sold at the Sotheby's auction for 3.1 million pounds sterling. By now, the total cost of the pictures of Marlene Dumas sold at auctions has exceeded $10 million.

At 23, Marlene Dumas left the home at the world's end, and moved closer to the centers of the world civilization, her ancestors’ home – Holland. In her art, the painter explores the subject of sexuality, psychology, perversity, suffering, faith, humiliation. Human figure, nude, portrait are the main subjects of the artist’s strange and harsh works of the artist. Her protagonists embody fear, despair, love, suffering, lust.


"For whom bells call"

Marlene uses photos to make paintings. She likes taking photos of friends, lovers, and sometimes a snapshot in a newspaper or the magazine will do. From this material she creates psychological portraits of people, disclosing their inner state. It is difficult to assert what helps the artist in her creative work: psychological studies made in the University of Amsterdam or mystic knowledge received from the ancient African peoples. 



Dumas's pictures and drawings usually look provocative and shocking — in many respects due to their subjects, or their treatment, to be more precise. Religious motives are a special subject used by the artist. For example, the "Perfect lover" series is devoted to Christ's passion and evokes mixed emotions in believers. 


"The perfect lover" 

Marlene Dumas's heroes are ugly and openly repulsive at times. Criminal, ugly sensuality, madness, obsession shines through in their faces. They simultaneously resemble languid crazy girls and evil otherworldly ghosts. These images are marked by a seal of death, as it were. They strike you as uncanny and titillating. You positively have to see this.


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