complexity of reality

Why doesn’t capitalist domination create a society only made up of bourgeois and proletarians? Why doesn’t it eliminate every non-merchant tie and ideal? Not because that system has not (yet) conquered the whole planet. Exact opposite. It’s for two reasons that result from a conquest which started in the 16th century and was completed in the 20th. First, capital never arrives on tatabula rasa. It does not produce itself: it uses human resources laden with history. Even in North America where it made a clean sweep through genocide, it imported complex and strife-ridden European realities.
Secondly, even the country that goes the furthest in turning everything into commodity and wage labour, in reducing family, school, feeling, sex, ideas, art and politics to money relations, and which likes to think of itself as liberated from archaic constraints and tensions, periodically goes back to supposedly outmoded practices: it restricts free competition, infringes on parliamentary and civil rights, puts a clampdown on strikes and collective bargaining, and reinvents protectionism. These backlashes are a modern effect of the reality that’s come to be central to our societies: the labour-capital connection, and the necessity for capital to master labour, in forms that are never definitive.
—  Troploin, In for a Storm
10

NY Times video about racism against Asian Americans is facing a backlash from the Asian community

On Thursday, the New York Times published a video about the racism that Asian-Americans face every day, a compilation of stories gathered from the hashtag #ThisIs2016. But because the video erases the complex reality of being Asian American, two marginalized groups are not on board.

follow @the-movemnt

okay. now that i’m inside and i’ve sat on it for a little bit, here’s some reasons why an american live action death note is bad from the perspective of a person who used to love death note when they were a lot younger and less educated.

  1. whitewashing is shitty and racist and you shouldn’t do it. jeez, guys. just hire japanese actors.
  2. gross white boys with god complexes is america’s reality and we’re all tired of it. we don’t need MORE gross white boys with god complexes feeling validated because of this nonsense.
  3. imo death note’s concept is only as fascinating as it is because it’s primarily set in the context of japanese culture.
  4. light yagami is only as fascinating as he is as a character because he goes from honor student with a bright future to mass murderer who becomes so obsessed with his pointless cause that he causes the death of his proud father and mental scarring of his loving sister and mother. just going off the content in the trailer, evidence of that shift is totally absent.
  5. there’s actually an arc where the main cast travels to the united states from japan. what are they going to do with that arc.
  6. what the fuck is a japanese god of death even doing in america.
  7. death note is a sexist garbage fire. we should definitely remember its good points, but it’s high time we let it die.
  8. matt probably isn’t gonna be included in any fashion, but even if he is, i’m sick of seeing him swiss cheesed.
  9. we already HAD live action movies.

3

For boobsmuke (long over due) I hope you like it! if not I have no problem redoing it 

•Disagreements•Erik Durm

Gratias wasn’t a violent person; even when her emotions got the best of her—even at her angriest—the desire to cause someone physically harm was nonexistent. Her friends always teased her about having a ‘peacemaker’ complex but in reality she just didn’t see the benefits of taking things to that level.  She always believed that  expressing her discontent about something with words was far more productive. The words may come out in a unnecessary volumes but being violent was never an issue.So her current overwhelming desire to punch Erik in his beautiful face caught her a little off guard.  

Gratias would have never thought she would ever want to hurt him of all people,Erik Drum. The love of her life, her fiancé, and not to mention the father of the twin boys that had been steadily growing in her belly for five months now. Why even have one violent thought towards a man like that? He never deserved it, he was a good man who loved her more than she knew she could be loved. He supported her the way she supported him—unconditionally.

Maybe not as unconditionally as I thought. She thought bitterly as she glared at him, hands balled at her sides. With a couple feet in between them,as they stood in the living room area of the apartment they shared, the  couple were in a stand off. The explosive argument they were in the middle of had stalled in a brief anger charged silence. Gratias couldnt believe he had the nerve to even be mad at her.  

She was still in disbelief with the way he came at her almost half an hour earlier. It wasn’t like she had expected him to come back  home in great spirit, he was coming home from an away match, the result of the away match against Bayer Leverkusen was a scoreless draw that did nothing for Dortmund’s current place near the bottom of the table. It wasn’t a lost so it didn’t count against them, but it did nothing for them either. And there lay the root of the frustration.

Gratias was fully prepared to be there for him—allowing him to vent then try to get his mind off it for a moment. She had no problem in being there for him at all…but Erik was on a completely different wavelength. He come upset like Gratias expected but what she wasn’t expecting was for him to come in and accuse her of things. Things she hadn’t done and the furthering insult to injury by scolding her like a child. After bombarded her with pictures and articles from Internet gossip sites of when  she went out  dancing with her friends  earlier that week, he had the nerve to yell at her. Nevermind that some of these so called articles were accusing her of the unthinkable—consuming alcohol.that alone should have made the stories lose any bit of credibility among other flat out lies….but none of that mattered to Erik.

He wasn’t focused on any of that—he knew Gratias would never foolishly endanger their babies that way. His  anger was because  she had gone out at all. In his eyes none of these stories would even have an opportunity to fabricate if she was at home like she was supposed to be. His exact words, words  that sparked the heated argument underway. How could he even say that to her? Basically implying that because she was pregnant that was somehow in no condition to go out and enjoy herself?she couldn’t hang out with friends? What was she supposed to be the barefoot pregnant wife—-or in her case wife to be—the men had expected of their women back in the day? Erik had another thing coming if he thought there was even a possibility of that being their reality.

“I’m not disabled.” Gratias finally spoke up, breaking the tense silence that had  enveloped them. Her words clear and tone full of defiance and attitude.

“What?”Erik narrowed his eyes; what the hell did that even mean?Disabled? Who even said…? “I’m not disabled,” Gratias repeated firmly,” I’m fucking pregnant, I’m not disabled.”

“I never said—“

“you didn’t have to!”she cut in the volume of her voice significantly increasing with every word,” The way you reacted to me going out, the fact you said I should have been home! You’re acting like I have some sort of handicap.”

“That’s not what I meant, I don’t think you’re disabled and I don’t think our babies are handicaps. I know you’re a perfectly able bodied woman and being five months into a pregnancy doesn’t change that….I just don’t think going out was the best idea.”Erik said as calmly as he could. Even  thought she was yelling at him, he decided in that moment that it wouldn’t do any good to yell with her. He wanted her to understand he wasn’t trying to attack her but say how he felt. It would’ve been a good approach…but it was too little too late.

“Well last time I checked I didn’t  ask  for your permission or approval.” “Gratias shot back. Maybe she should be used to this..Erik had always been protective. Something  that only amplified when she found out she was pregnant. She understood him wanting to protect her but she’d be damned he dedicated over what did or didn’t do. Erik Durm had another thing coming if he thought he was running this show.

“I never said you have to ask for my permission, or approval Grati, I said it wasn’t a good fucking idea.”he shot back, anger quickly finding its way back into his tone. She was twisting thing for no reason. He wasn’t trying to dictate her,he just didn’t want her in an environment that was unnecessary and potentially dangerous. Was too much to ask?

“Well good thing you had no fucking say in the matter, huh?” she offered him a sarcastic smile as she taunted him. The truth of the matte was it was done and No matter how much he didn’t like it,he couldn’t do a damn thing.

“What was the point of you going anyway, huh,"he shot back,"it’s not like you could drink.”

Gratias let out a humorless chuckle,shaking her head at his ignorant statement. He was really so upset about nothing. “I didn’t  have to fucking drink, I went out with my friends, to hang out with my friends.that was the point. Sorry I didn’t stay hidden away in this fucking place until you saw it fit for me to go out.”

“Don’t. don’t fucking do that."Erik closed his eyes briefly trying to get a hold of the anger quickly escalating within him. Sometimes he wished she was more physical when they got into it. He’d rather her slap him then to her patronizing him. Gratias always choose to fight with words because she knew how to make them cut worse than any physical wound could.

“Don’t do what Erik?”she questioned in the same tone as before,”don’t answer your idiotic question?”

"Don’t imply shit I’m  not trying to do! I’m not trying to hide you! Why would I? You’re going to be my wife and the mother of my kids for fucks sake! I get that you wanted to be with your friends. I get that but why they couldn’t have come over? Why did you have to go out?"Erik gritted out.

"Why do I have to stay in?” She countered, “am  i carrying  babies or a disease?”

“Fuck, Grati, I dont think your disabled, I don’t think the babies are a handicap and I know your carrying my sons. Stop because I don’t think any of that. That was not the right environment for a pregnant woman no matter how you try to spin it ."Erik said exasperatedly. She was quiet for a few seconds before shaking her head.

"Whatever, Erik,” sh said in a tone that could only be described as ‘done’. She was done with this conversation, done with the pointless back and forth…and as of right now she was done with being in Erik’s presence. Without another word she stomped off to their bedroom, Erik hot on her heels. She ignored him as she stuffed her feet into her boots before grabbing her coat and keys.

“Where are you going?"his eyes widened as her actions threw im for a loop. Gratias wasn’t a runner, when she didn’t want to argue anymore she would say so before giving him the silent treatment for the remainder of the day. There were  significant changes in her mood that were understandably from her pregnancy… she was unpredictable and it made him uneasy.

“Gratias where are you going?” he asked again, blocking her from leaving the room.”None of your business.” She glared up at him, “move.”

"It is my business,” Erik countered, “you’re my fiancée and you’re pregnant.”

"Yeah and your pregnant fiancée doesn’t want to be bothered with you right now. So like I said it’s none of your business.” She spat before shoving and pushing past him as she slung her purse on her shoulder, and with that she stormed out of the apartment leaving Erik  with only  his thoughts.

⚽️🇩🇪⚽🇩🇪️⚽️🇩🇪⚽️🇩🇪⚽️🇩🇪⚽️🇩🇪⚽️🇩🇪⚽️🇩🇪

Erik was restless; it’s been hours since the argument and Gratias still wasn’t back. He knew where she was—she had been courteous enough to call and tell him she was at her sisters fifteen minutes after she left.— He knew she was safe and no doubt comfortable…but that didn’t make him feel better. He felt like an asshole…he was an asshole.  

He blew the whole situation out of proportion and definitely overreacted. After having time to think about it, He had no right to come at her the way he did, implying things that were anything but true. The stress of the currently awful season Dortmund was having, having to leave his family behind as he traveled, and the overall fear of anything bad happening to the loves of his life just made him snap over nothing.

He knew Gratias was a smart woman, she would never put herself in a position that could endanger herself or the twins…neither would her friends for that matter.

"Man I’m so stupid.” Erik groaned placing his hands on his face.

“Yeah you are.”

He shot up at the sound of her voice.  Seeing her beautiful presence standing in the doorway. Had been so far gone in his thoughts that he hadn’t even heard her come in?

“You’re home, baby, I’m so sor—"he started as he scrambled off the bed and moved towards her

"Yeah I know.” she cut in; once he was as close enough she wrapped her arms around standing on her tippy toes trying to closing the height gap between them. Erik instinctively leaned forward and closed the raining space, smiling when she pressed her lips against his.

“I forgive you, blödmann,” She smirked once she pulled away making his smile grow.  Gratias’ amused stature faded as she gave him the hardest glare, “But if you ever try to imply that I can’t go out and I should basically just be your barefoot pregnant housewife… I will punch in your pretty face got it?”

Erik raised an eyebrow, the sudden mood change throwing him off. He knew that came along with her being pregnant but he still wasn’t used to how quickly it happened but nodded all the same, “got it.”

And just like that her scowl turned into a bright smile. As she pecked his lips again, “good! Now let’s go to the kitchen, I want some Ritz crackers and ice cream!” she said cheerfully, giving him another peck on the lips before turning on her heels. Erik watched as she practically skipping out of their room towards the kitchen.

He shook his head; he slowly followed after her. It was official—-he was slightly scared of his fiancée. If this was five months he could only imagine what the remainder of this pregnancy was going to be like.

*

Writing on the Gray Areas of Colonialism

@jayalaw asked:

Obviously colonialism is bad, but what about the grey areas? Speaking as a desi author, I’ve read about while the British did its fair share of atrocities to Indians, not to mention Rudyard Kipling’s writings, there were good things like governors finding compromises for tradition. Is it all right to write about the grey areas of colonialism, like trying to get rid of unfair traditions like sati (burning/burying women with their dead husbands) and prioritizing education?

The gray areas are probably the most interesting things to write about, IMO. 

Colonialism is bad because as an institution it deprives a nation or nations of control of their destiny, not because every individual colonialist is a horrible person or because the colonized nation(s) are at all blameless.  That narrative is a monochromatic caricature of a much more complex reality.

A few cases in point off the top of my head of British-imposed progress include officers attempting to eliminate sati by force (didn’t really work until alliances were made with Hindu reform movements, but they tried), the Indian railway system, and documentation of the theretofore oral transmission of the ancient scriptures and languages.  Personally, I’m a linguist, and the entire field of historical and comparative linguistics probably wouldn’t exist in anything resembling its present state without the efforts of William Jones, an Anglo-Welsh philologist in Calcutta.  In a sense, without British colonialism, I wouldn’t have a job.  So there’s that.

As a desi writer, I think you (we) have a certain license to discuss these gray areas.  Of course we’re bound by the same obligations to thoughtfulness and sensitivity as everyone else, but we and our experiences are products of the European-South Asian interaction that forged our parents’ and grandparents’ generations, so I for one would feel a lot better about someone from that background tackling one of these complex and often uncomfortable gray areas than I would reading it from someone without that background, who may hamhandedly come off as either justifying the colonial institutions or as trying to prove how socially conscious they are.

~Mod Nikhil

An exploration of gender in the Zombies, Run! universe

I think that one of the reasons that Zombies, Run! is so engaging to me and to a lot of other people, is its exploration of gender and gender roles. 

Most liberal media has already surpassed the stereotypical depiction of men and women. However, often these works fall into a kind of inverse stereotyping; the men are ‘flawed’ in the sense that they are incompetent and childish before they grow into their roles as natural leaders, while women are Strong Female Characters who can do everything a man can, except backwards and in high heels. I want to say that this is better than the original stereotypes, but it is nowhere near the complex reality of gender. I think that Zombies, Run! comes a lot closer, especially when considering how the different characters deal with weakness and strength.

It is too easy to say that the game focusses on female strength and male weakness. Even though this might be true in the eyes of some commenters, the reality is more interesting than that.

In a post-apocalyptic setting, the male characters do appear weaker than stereotypical male leads. There is almost no badass killing of zombies by machine guns, bowie knives or axes. The few male heroes who are physically strong are compromised in other ways (see Simon, Evan, Steve and Tom). It is interesting that the character that is revered for killing the most zombies is actually a scientist, who used his wits instead of his physical prowess.
Sam Yao is the actual definition of a communicator, a role that is traditionally feminine and Phil is the long-suffering sidekick to Zoe’s joking leading (wo)man.

In contrast, and playing with the expectations of the audience, the female characters appear stronger (physically or leadership, not character-wise) than female characters usually are in the genre. Janine runs the actual township, Sarah is a badass fighter with a mysterious past, Jody is an archer, even though she is scared as fuck the whole time. 
Female characters have their weaknesses too; Janine is brusque, Sarah is distrusting. They’re not perfect, but they make mistakes and certainly don’t just exist to outshine the male characters.

I think that the game is not just focussed on subverting the usual strength/weakness gender-roles of apocalyptic fiction, but instead does away with gendered roles all together;

The morally dubious scientist is a girl. The lovable sarcastic asshole is a woman. The star-crossed lovers are both women. The communicator is a man, the distraught parent is a man, the unethical journalist is a man.  Granted, it is still easier to portray a women in a traditionally ‘male’ role than it is to portray a man in a traditionally ‘female’ role, but that’s because there aren’t really very many traditionally ‘female’ roles in genre fiction (that’s the whole point of apocalyptic fiction, isn’t is? A new world?)

I know that Naomi Alderman once described her process for creating a gender-balanced cast of characters. Write a male character and then at the last moment, swap out the male name for a female name, and see what happens. I think that this is great. I feel like any character could have their gender flipped (yes this is a simplification) and their personalities would still hold up. I’d like to be more specific but I don’t want to spoil anyone.

So this essay doesn’t really do enough justice to gender in Zombies, Run, but it is a start, I guess? I might write more, but idk. I hope I didn’t just repeat things everyone already knew. I didn’t even get started on the villains, which are even more interesting gender-wise. So… to be continued, maybe.

i told you i loved you and you asked me if i even knew what love was. maybe i don’t, but if we’re being honest here, who does? it’s just a feeling, an emotion so simple in theory that it becomes too complex in reality. and maybe we’re doing it wrong, calling this love, but does that even matter anymore? because this is what it should be. it should be the way you smile at me when you think i’m not looking. or when our hands brush together to remind us of each other’s presence. forget the way your lips feel on mine, it’s when i look at the stars and think of you. tell me golden boy, if this isn’t love, then what should we call it?

Call for Submissions: Not That Bad: Dispatches From Rape Culture

Victims and survivors of sexual harassment, assault, and abuse have been taught by this culture that whatever horror they have endured could have been worse. At least you weren’t touched. At least you weren’t raped. At least you weren’t killed. This world effectively silences those who have been violated by demanding their first reaction be gratitude for what did not happen.

Not That Bad is an opportunity for those whose voices were stolen from them, to reclaim and tell their stories. This anthology will explore what it is like to navigate rape culture as shaped by the identities we inhabit.

Contributing to this anthology is a chance to own your own narrative with all of the complexity of reality without shame or condescension. Because too many of us have lived this truth, there is no one way to tell this story.

We warmly encourage submissions from people from all walks of life and across the gender spectrum.

If you would like your essay to be considered for this publication please submit via Submittable at notthatbad.submittable.com. We are accepting essays, 2,500 - 7,500 words in length. We are not accepting queries. Please submit your work as a Microsoft Word file. Please submit your best work. We will be accepting approximately twenty essays so please be patient with us as we take the time to consider your work.

Submissions will be open until December 15, 2015. We hope to respond to all submissions by March 15, 2016. All accepted contributions will be paid.

Not That Bad will be co-edited Roxane Gay and Ashley C. Ford and will be published by Harper Perennial.

SUBMIT HERE

Potential Topics (a brief list, not a prescription)

  • Testimonies of what “not that bad” looks like
  • Critical examinations of rape culture
  • What it’s like to negotiate rape culture as a man
  • How women diminish the sexual violence and aggression they experience and the effects of doing so
  • What “not that bad” looks like in popular culture—film, television, and music
  • Resisting rape culture
  • Combating sexual harassment, street harassment and cat-calling
  • How sexual harassment and violence erode women’s privacy
Art is always difficult, but it is especially difficult when it comes to telling other people’s stories. And it is ferociously difficult when those others are tangled up in your history and you are tangled up in theirs. What honors those we look at, those whose stories we try to tell, is work that acknowledges their complex sense of their own reality. Good photography, regardless of its style, is always emotionally generous in this way. For this reason, it outlives the moment that occasions it. Weaker photography delivers a quick message — sweetness, pathos, humor — but fails to do more. But more is what we are.
—  Teju Cole, A Too-Perfect Picture (2016) dans The New York Times Magazine
“[Marlene Dumas’] best works are erotic displays of mental confusions (with intrusions of irrelevant information)….”

“I am the third person

observing the bad marriage

between art and life

watching the pose and the slip

seeing the end in the beginning.”

Marlene Dumas, Couples, 1990

Marlene Dumas:  The Image as Burden @ Tate Modern until May 10th 2015.

Review by Alison Humphrey

The contested site, of pleasure, pain, eroticism, pathos, mortality; Marlene Dumas is concerned with body. This retrospective exhibition, The Image as Burden, on show at Tate Modern this spring, is testament to Dumas’ enduring faith in the power of her medium (painting), which she uses to communicate complex psychological realities; ultimately chronicling aspects of the human condition in its broadest definition.

Marlene Dumas The Image as Burden 1993 Private collection, Belgium © Marlene Dumas Photo: Peter Cox

Personally, I fell in love with the way each room of this exhibition is introduced. In Marlene’s words, in Marlene’s prose, in Marlene’s poetry. For me this exposed Dumas’ entire creative practice as a hybrid of visual and literal output, on separate plains, fornicating to formulate “the intoxication of rhythmic rhetorical arousal”!

I found the lack of historical and/or contextual text panels not unwelcome, unmissed or undesirable. Instead, I felt it was refreshing to experience an exhibition so intimate and uninterfered with curatorially, where the images and words of a female artist are given the reverence to speak to their audience in tandem and in conversation. I didn’t miss the dates or the history, although the exhibition is vaguely chronological, the works were timeless enough that I was lost in the current of the show, and Dumas’ unfettered obsession with painting. In fact, I must admit, I found I was often more captivated by her words than her images, not that the artworks were/are not striking, just the elegiac potency of the text was more compelling.  

Marlene Dumas Hierarchy 1992

I cannot assert that the paintings in this exhibition, or their subjects are real, they don’t feel real, not to me, as the title suggests ‘The Image is Burden’. Some are famous and recognizable, their image: infamous. All Dumas subjects are subjected to the proportions of movie stars, exposed to the lens, then exposed to the brush. As Barthes asserts “the photograph surreptitiously induces belief that [the subject] is alive … but by shifting this reality to the past (‘this-has-been’), the photograph suggests that [the subject] is already dead,” and thus through the act of painting this photographic image, Dumas’ subject is doubly dead.

There is a darkness. In mood. In shade. There is intensity. There is popularity, sexuality and carnality. There is a frequent indirectness, an obviousness that cannot hide the fact Dumas never paints directly from life, and her penchant for pre-existing source images somehow negotiates reality, given reverence by her textual aphorisms. I relish the substance of the written words which accompany the images; “I write to participate in the writing of my own history” asserts Dumas, though anomalously they seldom provide any riposte, preserving the ambiguity of the artwork, allocating a precious scope for myriad of meanings.

Marlene Dumas Losing (her meaning) 1988

In Losing (her meaning), an Ophelia figure floats face down in the water. A figure, outlined in black, stripped bare of meaning, is bathed in suggested interpretation. Her pose, conscious or un, suggests sensuality and vulnerability. Dumas paints in porno blues, subtle nuances of shade derived from blue movies. “Pornography assumes everything can be shown, art prefers the veiling of things” (Marlene Dumas. Phaidon. 81). Nudity, represented throughout, as a cultural construction, contends no image is more minimalistic than one considered pornographic. Genitals, however exciting to the eye are rarely judged as beautiful, the unashamed confrontational attitude and elements of humor allow Dumas and thus her spectators, to avoid pornographic fixation.

Dumas asserts that “art always fails to be naked”… and I tend to agree, for nakedness is in the eyes of the viewers, their vulnerability indicated by their awkward eyes and guilty giggles as they peep around the corner of the room, pointing, at Dumas painting, a female derrière points skywards. “Pornography ordinarily represents the sexual organs, the erotic image, takes the spectator outside its frame, and it is there that I animate this photograph and that it animates me.” (Barthes, again!)

Perhaps Dumas’ desire for nakedness over nudity transforms her paintings into pornography? “I want to make more desires possible” (Marlene Dumas. Phaidon. 23)

Or in negotiating her relationship with reality, by painting a photograph, does Dumas have the power to transform the pornographic into the erotic, like water into wine?  I think it unnecessary to be bogged down by demarcation, their classification doesn’t alter their appeal. The curator has ushered these dubiously pono-paintings into a small section of the exhibition, an area which can so easily be missed, to the detriment of the visitor! The walls are grey, potentially to subdue the colours, the subjects and the artistic intentions? Each panel, different in size and scale, effortlessly conveys the “weight of the body”, they are not tense or offensive, though they cannot be confused for anatomically educational diagrams. I find this series of works the most ‘photographic’, if I may use that word to unconventionally describe painting, collectively they form brief snap shots. Fluidity and lightness of touch, perhaps down to the use of thin mediums. These images depict, what might widely be considered a most intimate revelation, they seem distant. As Dumas herself points out, there is tension in the tease, not the revelation.

Marlene Dumas ‘Mandy’ 1998 and ‘Dorothy’ 1998, ink wash and watercolour on paper.

Conversely, there is an intimacy, or at least the illusion of it in much of her other work. Compositionally distance is forsaken, most of Dumas’ paintings have a subject stretching edge to edge or beyond, there is little background, no unnecessary information, which one might expect from the output of a painter working in the digitally dominated day. In the portraits, where heads are presented at a huge scale, Dumas creates a sense of intense proximity, we know these faces inwardly. She demonstrates the physicality of her medium, the potency of what first hand painting does to the second hand image, the image she has collected, selected and affected.

Marlene Dumas Amy - Blue 2011, National Portrait Gallery, London

© Marlene Dumas, Photo: Peter Cox.

I suppose I am searching for surface, not that Dumas’ paintings are devoid of texture, but here paper seems like skin. Although everything is flat, on the plain of the wall, her painted contours, so life like in their depiction of feeling, could be studies for statues, sculptures of masks. I have read reviews staking Amy as the ‘low-point’ of the exhibition. Of course I disagree, though she might be the mid-point, she glows blue, more vivid and alive than her neighbor Naomi and her acquaintance Diana, at less than a quarter of their size and cropped close; the focus on her familiar heartbroken expression, the antithical idol, tragic Madonna.  

Throughout childhood drawing had two functions for Dumas, facilitating the retreat into her own private world, and also as a means to entertain others. The paintings and drawings displayed here do not induct us into her private fantasy world but expose to us a real one. These vacuous, expansive, emotionally empty exhibition rooms are filled with exquisite facades. Figures rarely meeting the gaze of their viewer. Other reviews indicate that although Dumas paints death, her work is full of life. I cannot concur, these paintings do not live or breath, they represent a static human condition, more about erring circumstance. “I am interested in the spaces between people and the love and death stories of the human race. I am interested in the images we create of each other.” Suggesting perhaps Dumas intends to create a collection of images cataloguing feelings rather than figures, preferring the universal over the personal, each painting depicts a relationship.

I’m rarely fanatic about ‘show stoppers’ (although the ‘strippers’ are captivating), usually more affected by notions of intimate or romantic censorship. ‘Don’t talk to strangers’ (1977) illustrates Dumas desire to create “sentences with sex appeal”, this work is erotic, romantically pertaining to love. Ceremonially, Dumas has torn opening and closing lines from both formal and intimate letters, replacing their content with faint lines of oil paint, senders names removed; anonymity preserved. ‘We’, anonymous viewers of redacted texts, are posited to ponder the innermost confidential, undisclosed details committed to Dumas’ memory. Painterly expanses left to our imagination. Briefly, I wonder what might happen if Marlene Dumas, Sophie Calle and Annette Messager formed a detective art threesome, all preoccupied with private lives and private writing, an art world Charlie’s Angels. Astride notions of public and private, this work is one of the few faceless, figureless pieces, though ironically perhaps it the most altruistic, compassionate and devoted.

Marlene Dumas, ‘Don’t talk to strangers’, 1977

Dumas paints with sympathy, her titles act as a lens through which we view her works, demonstrating an investigation into interrelationships; the spaces connecting, the spaces between. Painting/text, Painterly gestures/subject matter, the photographic image/the painted image, viewer/artwork, the private/the public, first hand/second hand, paint/paper, slow/fast (“I like my medium slow and my gestures fast.” (Tate Magazine))

Marlene Dumas Drunken Mermaid 1993

Dumas’ paintings feign reality without even bearing witness. She does not paint people or portraits, Dumas paints images, photographs. She does not capture the feelings or emotions of the person in the painting, she captures the feelings that have already been caught in the photograph, by the photographer, Dumas is a translator, Dumas paints a distance, Dumas documents the complexities of voyeurism. There is a false directness, because we are seeing these images second hand, Dumas depicts her impression of an image, a void which I found physically palpable throughout the exhibition. She looks at her works in third person with us. In interviews Dumas speaks of secrets, she claims Tracey Emin has none, but Emin paints portraits from real life and Dumas paints still lives of pre-existing images, the comparison is unfair. Dumas is impresario.

“A single image is often not enough, therefore you need to see an exhibition. Or at least a group of works together. Relationships ‘between’ are important,” Marlene Dumas

Disney XD VILLAINS in problematic nutshells.
  • Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja
    • Hannibal McFist: Likes taking credit for things he didn’t do, relies too much on other people.
    • The Sorcerer: Stuck in a hole and talks to rats. Has to rely on one guy on the outside.
  • Penn Zero: Part-time-Hero
    • Rippen: Relies on Larry, may or may not have sibling issues.
    • Larry: works for Rippen, does not have an evil bone in his body.
  • Star vs the Forces of Evil
    • Ludo: Napoleon complex.
  • Wander over Yonder
    • Lord Hater: Inferiority complex.
    • Emperor Awesome: blind to reality.
  • Gravity Falls.
    • Gideon Gleeful: Napoleon Complex.
    • Bill Cipher: Just plain crazy.