Blind Joy

Marlene Dumas


Drawing, 125 x 70 cm.
Materials: aquarel on paper

Collection: M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. BK006911-001).

'I use all the cheap tricks of attracting attention: eyes looking at you, sexual parts exposed or deliberately covered. The primitive pull of recognition. The image as prostitute. You are forced to say yes or no.' - Marlene Dumas

Interestingly, it is the female nude, one of the canonical forms of Western art history, that occupies a central place in Marlene Dumas’ watercolours. At first glance, the watercolours from the MD–Pin Up Series: Blind Joy, Indian Summer, Mis-Cast, Sailor’s Dream and Slight Delight seem devoid of the embittered, lugubrious undertone that is characteristic of much of Dumas’ work in oil; they appear as symbols of a certain pleasure that may prove more empowering than we are willing to admit as we enter the minefield of post-feminist gender politics. However, the paintings are based on Polaroids Dumas made during a visit to a notorious Amsterdam strip club named Casa Rosso, as well as on photographs cut out of pornographic magazines.

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