The novelist Claire Messud has one of those not-quite-a-profile, not-quite-a-think piece on Marlene Dumas that seems to rest heavily on one long, intoxicating visit between artist and novelist from which the novelist extrapolates, perhaps, too much:
In recent years, her paintings have sold at record prices for a living woman artist, the citation of which is a source of continual frustration to her. “I’d like to be remembered for something else,” […]
“With certain things I’ve done,” she said, “I don’t regret that I’ve done them, but you also have the thing as a painting itself, and later, when all other things are gone, you think, ‘I wonder, is this really an interesting painting?’ ” — she appraised a painting in her mind’s eye — “. . . and with the different curators, if they all agree that it’s okay, you distrust that, because they should see that it isn’t; but if you maybe think that something is actually good, and they don’t really react . . .” She shrugged. “Some artists, they say, are much more clear about what’s good and what’s bad in their own work. But I find it difficult.” […]
The example of “Twice,” the joint exhibition for which she painted “Missing Picasso,” is particularly telling. While Tuymans painted new works for the exhibition, Dumas, in some instances, returned to earlier, unfinished paintings, finding in the show’s theme the route to their completion. While Tuymans worked on his own, with an unwavering idea of his plan, Dumas consulted Tuymans for his opinion. When Tuymans suggested that they each show only six works, Dumas concurred, but marveled at his continence. “If I don’t work for long periods, then when I do, I go on till the end, and then sometimes I have too many works,” she told me. “Mostly I never think like that, I first see what I do, and then in the end I decide. But I thought, O.K., it was more efficient. It’s funny, these differences. You could also say he’s a man who knows himself well.” She emitted a roar of laughter.
Social Studies | Marlene Dumas (T Magazine)