Marlene Dumas is widely regarded as one of the most influential painters working today. Over the past four decades, she has continuously probed the slippages and dislocations of identity and representation in her work. Born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1953, Dumas moved to Amsterdam in 1976, where she has lived and worked since. Her paintings and drawings, frequently devoted to depictions of the human form, are typically culled from a vast archive of images collected by the artist, including art historical materials, mass media sources, and personal snapshots of friends and family. Gestural, fluid, frequently spectral, and deeply political, Dumas’s works reframe and re-contextualize her subjects, exploring the ambiguous and shifting boundaries between public and private selves. 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 2017, two concurrent solo exhibitions and an altarpiece by the artist were presented in Dresden. On the occasion of the artist’s permanent installation at the Annenkirche Dresden (St. Anne’s Church), the Albertinum hosted a solo show of the Dumas’s Skulls series (2011-2015) and Kupferstich-Kabinett, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen presented three watercolor series by the artist.
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.