Marlene Dumas and the great heist

dumas03dumas01dumas02My friend Millie kindly treated me to tickets to the Marlene Dumas show currently at the Tate Modern and so my thanks to her for a great day. I have to confess I’m new to Marlene Dumas and so although I thought I would like her show based on the prep work I’d done I couldn’t be sure. No need for concern, this is a wonderful show and well worth a visit. Millie pointed out to me at the end of the show that its a bit dour but I’ll be honest and say that I hadn’t noticed that during the show though concede she has a point.

Marlene’s work is, at its best, very, very beautiful. She has a great touch and style and the work oozes quality. There’s a debt to Egon Schiele to be paid and Gerhard Richter and Francis Bacon among others, but she’s found her own voice and it feels as though she’s managed to free herself from the history of art (never easy). She has a nice sense of humour and you will find kooky comedy moments throughout the exhibition. These are exagerated by the very poncy write ups for each painting (curators, less is more people). Almost all aspects of life are encountered from sex to death to current affairs, although strangely I saw no reference to birth but perhaps I missed it. Ah, no, I didn’t miss it, its in the catalogue but sadly missing from the exhibition, not sure why but very unfortunate. This makes the exhibition feel like an unfinished painting in retrospect.

All in all I highly recommend this show, wonderful paintings.

After the show we were forced to conduct a heist on the appalling rail system here in the UK. Forced to book train tickets in advance (a pet hate of mine) we were restricted to only travelling on one specific train home (another pet hate of mine). Theoretically meaning we should sit on a train platform and let perfectly good trains pass by half empty while we waited for ours (a further pet hate of mine). We didn’t, and got away with travelling on the wrong trains to get home a little earlier. Feeling like criminals all the way home despite having paid for our journey.

Marlene Dumas – Superb
Tate Modern – Good (would have been better if the show had been curated better)
Privatised railway system – Bollocks
Companion – Superb (many thanks)