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Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Marlene Dumas: The Image as Burden

Marlene Dumas: The Image as Burden opens at Tate Modern today. Ben Luke in his review for the London Evening Standard says that the show 'proves that painting can still agitate at the big questions in a unique way' and left him 'feeling haunted.'

I reviewed Dumas' Forsaken exhibition at the Frith Street Gallery in 2011 for the Church Times and wrote then that 'Dumas’s work is both bold and fragile, brash and delicate; passages of cool minimalism — blank spaces and unpainted charcoal lines — combine with the textured gestural brushstrokes of vigorous expression­ism: a stylistic both/and that comple­ments her imagistic exploration of the reality of paradox.'

I concluded that review by saying: 'By beginning with Christ’s cry of forsakenness and using that moment as a metaphor for our common experiences of isolation and loss, these are crucifixions which begin a conversation capable of taking us deeper into both the experience and consequences of Christ’s death. Could they be afforded – and Dumas is among those contemporary artists for whose work collectors pay the highest prices – these crucifixions would speak powerfully within sacred space. There is nevertheless something apposite about the strange company they keep in this exhibition that recalls the company Christ kept in his ministry and on the cross.'


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