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.
Born in 1953 in Cape Town, South Africa, Marlene Dumas studied at the University of Cape Town before moving to The Netherlands in the late 1970s to study painting and psychology. She continues to live and work in Amsterdam. Since 2008, her work has been represented by David Zwirner. In 2010, she had her first gallery solo exhibition, Against the Wall, which traveled to the Museu Serralves in Porto, Portugal.
In 2014, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam presented Marlene Dumas: The Image as Burden, a major retrospective for the artist's work that comprised over one hundred drawings and paintings from private and museum collections throughout the world. The show traveled to Tate Modern, London, followed by Fondation Beyeler, Basel in 2015.
In 2012, a solo exhibition of the artist's work was shown at the Fondazione Stelline in Milan. In 2008, a critically acclaimed retrospective, Measuring Your Own Grave, was organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, in association with The Museum of Modern Art, New York, which toured to The Menil Collection, Houston, Texas in 2009. Intimate Relations marked her first solo exhibition in South Africa and was held at the Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town in 2007 and the Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg in 2008. The Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo hosted the artist's first comprehensive solo show in Japan in 2007. Titled Broken White, it traveled to the Marugame Genichiro-Inokuma Museum of Contemporary Art, Marugame, Japan. Other institutions which have presented one-person exhibitions from the past decade include the Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf (2008); Taidehalli, Helsinki (2005); Art Institute of Chicago (2003); New Museum, New York; De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art, Tilburg, The Netherlands (both 2002); and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2001).
Work by Dumas is represented in museum collections worldwide, including the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Gemeentemuseum, The Hague; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and Tate Gallery, London.