Marlene Dumas | Palazzo Grassi | David Zwirner
A header image featuring the text Marlene Dumas: open-end

This major monographic exhibition at Palazzo Grassi, curated by Caroline Bourgeois in collaboration with Marlene Dumas, brings together more than one hundred of the artist’s paintings and drawings made between 1984 and the present, including new works created for the exhibition.

An Installation view, Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

Installation view, Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

Installation view, Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

An Installation view, Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

Installation view, Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

Installation view, Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

“It is an exhibition about love stories, and its range of different types of couples, young and old, erotism, betrayal, alienation, beginnings and ends, grief, tensions between the mind and the body, the words (titles and texts) and the images.”

—Marlene Dumas, open-end (catalogue)

Marlene Dumas in her studio, dated 2014. Photo by Jackie Nickerson

Marlene Dumas in her studio, 2014. Photo by Jackie Nickerson

Marlene Dumas in her studio, 2014. Photo by Jackie Nickerson

An Installation view, Marlene Dumas, D-rection, 1999, in Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

Installation view, Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

Installation view, Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

An Installation view, Marlene Dumas, D-rection, 1999, in Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

Installation view, Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

Installation view, Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

Over the past four decades, Marlene Dumas (b. 1953) has continuously probed the complexities of identity and representation. Her paintings and drawings, often 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.

Dumas’s open-end is part of Palazzo Grassi’s cycle of monographic exhibitions dedicated to major contemporary artists—among them Sigmar Polke, Luc Tuymans, and Bruce Nauman—since its launch in 2012.

The first floor of the exhibition includes many works from Dumas’s Myths & Mortals, a series ranging from monumental nude figures to small-scale canvases that feature a variety of fragmented images: a single eye, red lips, or lovers locked in a kiss. The series debuted at David Zwirner New York in 2018.

Several of the works on view at Palazzo Grassi from this series were inspired by Shakespeare’s poem Venus and Adonis (1593), including a large series of works on paper by that name that Dumas created for a recent Dutch translation of the poem by Hafid Bouazza.

A detail from a fifteen-part installation titled Venus & Adonis I by Marlene Dumas, 2015-2016

Marlene Dumas, Venus & Adonis II, 2015–2016 (detail from fifteen-part installation)

Marlene Dumas, Venus & Adonis II, 2015–2016 (detail from fifteen-part installation)

An Installation view, Marlene Dumas, Great Men, 2014, in Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

Installation view, Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

Installation view, Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

An Installation view, Marlene Dumas, Venus & Adonis I, 2015-2016, in Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

Installation view, Marlene Dumas, Venus & Adonis I, 2015–2016, in Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

Installation view, Marlene Dumas, Venus & Adonis I, 2015–2016, in Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

“Marlene Dumas explores love and eroticism, the interlacing of their mythological dimension and pagan references. In these delicate and aggressive works on paper resides the very quintessence of the artist’s work, which seizes with force the polarity of opposites, and embraces desire as the ultimate space of the expression of the human condition.”

—Caroline Bourgeois, open-end (catalogue)

An Installation view, Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

Installation view, Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

Installation view, Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

An Installation view, Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

Installation view, Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

Installation view, Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

An Installation view, Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

Installation view, Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

Installation view, Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

The second floor of open-end elaborates on Dumas’s most recent body of work, featured prominently in her solo exhibition at Musée d’Orsay in 2021 and her 2020 exhibition at Zeno X, inspired in part by Charles Baudelaire’s collection of poems Le Spleen de Paris.

Throughout the exhibition, however, more recent work is placed in conversation with works that span 1984 to the present, allowing for consideration of Dumas’s work as a whole.

An Installation view, Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

Installation view, Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

Installation view, Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

An Installation view, Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

Installation view, Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

Installation view, Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

Installation view, Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

Installation view, Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

Installation view, Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

“Perhaps the most celebrated living female painter of the human form, and certainly one of the most provocative contemporary artists.”

—Claire Messud, T: The New York Times Style Magazine

An Installation view, Marlene Dumas, Betrayal, 1994, in Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

Installation view, Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

Installation view, Marlene Dumas: open-end, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2022. Photo by Marco Cappelletti and Filippo Rossi. © Palazzo Grassi. © Marlene Dumas

“In her Venetian exhibition one finds all of the violence, all of the ‘terrible beauty’ at work in her painting, a painful, sublime beauty, that of the human condition, always captured in a social and historical context that she paints with energy, in ‘howling’ colors, those of suffering, fear, despair.”

—Caroline Bourgeois

Venice map by Eden Weingart for David Zwirner

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