Marlene Dumas – Francis Bacon

From 06 June 1995 to 01 October 1995

Curated by Marente Bloemheuvel, Jan Mot, Ida Gianelli, Sune Nordgren


The exhibition compares the work of Marlene Dumas (Kuilsrivier, South Africa, 1953) with that of an undisputed master of the twentieth century, Francis Bacon (Dublin, Ireland, 1909 – Madrid, Spain, 1992). The intention is to demonstrate the vitality of two figurative pictorial experiences that share the desire to portray the human being in all its contradictions. Francis Bacon, from his early works in the ‘Forties until his death, painted human beings in dramatic situations of conflict and violence. His distorted figures, isolated and closed off in geometric structures, suffer and cry out in pain. The artist does not reveal the cause of this suffering and his art assumes a metaphysical value, becoming a meditation on the evils of living, for which the representation of the body becomes the principal vehicle.

The work models of Marlene Dumas, like those of Bacon, come from a variety of sources, people from her circle or figures taken from newspapers and magazines. They are decontextualized through a non-naturalistic use of color and a distortion of the features, to represent what the artist calls “situations,” that is, emotions, experiences and events. Dumas expresses the contemporary experience of corporeality, with its effect of unease and discomfort, attested to by a hasty and deteriorated pictorial sign. Both artists dismantle the traditional concept of portrait as an authentic recording of the subject’s character, and in this way they invert one of the tasks that modern art has assumed, that of representing reality not in its apparent phenomena, but in its inner essence, in its profound resonance.


From 06 June 1995 to 01 October 1995