Marlene Dumas: Sweet Nothings

Notes and Texts 1982–2014

Text by Marlene Dumas. Edited by Mariska Van Den Berg

From the beginning, language has played an important role in the work of Marlene Dumas. Her earliest collages make use of text, and she often writes poetical monikers or captions directly onto her drawings, such as “The Eyes of the Night Creatures” or “Miss Interpreted.” Over the last 30 years, the artist has written texts ranging from aphorisms, statements and short poetic pieces to longer analytical essays. Her writing focuses on her own work, discussing its subject matter, its politics, background and source material, as well as its critical reception and her own cultural position as an artist. “I am always ‘not from here,” she writes in one text (a poem), “even though I try to know or understand ‘what’s going on’ and  what the rules are and how they  keep on changing and what that means.  When looking at images I’m not lost,  but I’m uneasy.” 

Sweet Nothings, originally published in a long out-of-print (and rare) Dutch edition in 1998 and now revised and expanded, provides a selection of her best and most representative writings from 1982–2014.


Publisher: D.A.P. / Walther Konig, Koln

Artists: Marlene Dumas

Contributors: Marlene Dumas, Mariska Van Den Berg

Publication Date: 2015

Binding: Softcover

Dimensions: 7 1/2 x 8 in (19.1 x 20.3 cm)

Pages: 256

Reproductions: 35 b&w

ISBN: 9781938922831

Retail: $27.50 US & Canada | £20 | €24

Status: Not Available

Marlene Dumas

Widely regarded as one of the most influential painters working today, Marlene Dumas has continuously explored the complex range of human emotions, often probing questions of gender, race, sexuality, and economic inequality. Through her focus on the human figure, Dumas merges socio-political themes with personal experience and art-historical antecedents to create a unique perspective on the most salient and controversial issues facing contemporary society. Her work consistently explores constructions of identity and the fluid distinctions between the public and the private.

All Marlene Dumas books