Slight Delight

Marlene Dumas


Drawing, 125 x 70 cm.
Materials: aquarelle, paper

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. BK006911-005).

"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 these watercolors. At first glance, the five watercolors from the MD–Pin Up Series in the collection of M HKA, Blind Joy, Indian Summer, Mis-Cast, Sailor’s Dream and Slight Delight [all made in 1996] seem devoid of the embittered, lugubrious undertone that is characteristic of much of the artist’s 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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