Against the Wall
David Zwirner is pleased to announce the first solo exhibition by Marlene Dumas since the artist joined the gallery in 2008. Against the Wall features all new works from 2009 and 2010. This marks the first time since 2001 that the artist has presented a new body of work in New York.
Known for her unique approach to canvas and her thoughtprovoking subject matter, Marlene Dumas is widely considered one of today’s most important painters. Her work is characterized by a sensual and gestural technique that is also swift, dry, and minimal, as if under pressure to leave only what is necessary. While she lives and works in The Netherlands, the artist was born and raised in South Africa, and her paintings have often drawn from her own experiences of living with apartheid. For over thirty years, Dumas has merged political discourse, personal experience, and art historical references in a richly layered body of work. Her paintings integrate complex themes–ranging from segregation, eroticism, or, more generally, the politics of love and war–to explore how image-making is implicitly involved not only in the cultural processes of objectification, but also in the way in which events are documented and collectively understood.
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The large-scale works included in Against the Wall are primarily based on media imagery and newspaper clippings documenting the conflict between Israel and Palestine, exploring the tension between the photographic documentation of reality and the constructed, imaginary space of painting. The Wall, the painting that began the series, at first appears to present a scene at the Western Wall (also known as the Wailing Wall), an important site of religious pilgrimage located in Jerusalem.