Marlene Dumas: The art of exposing evil in the ordinary


Dumas, for his part, admires among others Edvard Munch, Francis Bacon and the American portrait painter Alice Neel (1900-1984), who also appears in Close Up at the Fondation Beyeler. Neel’s expressed desire “to catch life as it passes, fresh off the hotplate,” and to paint “people” – body and soul – rather than role models, he said. marked, and it recognizes with hindsight the debt of the Painter to Neels Andy warhol (1970).

As the Musée d’Orsay exhibition is about to open, Grau cannot stress enough the influence of Dumas on “every young painter”. “She belongs to this great generation of artists who are women and who have completely shaped the history of art,” he says.

Sensual but cerebral, cruel but tender, Dumas’s work has upset the aesthetics of portraiture, stripping off the varnish to reveal something detestable and visceral but also sublime.

“There is no beauty if it does not show some of the terrible things in life,” writes Dumas. “Art is there to remind us that all the laws about what is beautiful and precious were made by humans and can be changed by them.”

To close takes place at the Fondation Beyeler, Basel until January 2, 2022.

Marlene Dumas, The Paris Spleen and Marlene Dumas, Conversations are playing at the Musée d’Orsay, Paris until January 30, 2022.

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