163. Marlene Dumas

Marlene Dumas
Fear of Babies (1986):
– Collaborator’s Son
– Tripoli Baby
– Chernobyl Child
– Intolerant Boy
– Sweety Pie

The complete portfolio with 5 lithographs on paper and a  poem by the artist
Each lithograph signed, dated 1986 and numbered 5/20 (the edition also includes 3 HC) lower left and titled lower centre
Published by De Expeditie, Amsterdam
Each lithograph on wove paper, each 76.3 x 56.7 cm
In the original folder with ribbons, 81.9 x 62.5 cm
Marlene Dumas, Sweet Nothings. Notes and Texts, Galerie Paul Andriesse & De Balie Publishers, Amsterdam, 1998, p. 30
Fear of Babies’ by Marlene Dumas is a thought-provoking series that challenges conventional perceptions of childhood and parenthood. The artist’s depictions of children as distorted, uncanny, and discomforting creatures evoke a sense of fear, prompting viewers to confront the darker and more complex aspects of the human experience. Dumas, despite being a mother herself, does not shy away from portraying her own children in a way that deviates from the traditional portrayal of innocence.
The series seems to delve into the unsettling nature of parenthood, questioning the idealized notion of children as purely innocent and angelic. By presenting children in a more ambiguous and sometimes even disturbing light, Dumas challenges societal expectations and norms surrounding childhood. The use of fear in the title suggests a deliberate attempt to provoke a visceral and emotional response from the viewer, pushing them to reconsider preconceived notions about the nature of children.
Furthermore, Dumas incorporates political commentary into her work, as seen in pieces like ‘Collaborator’s Son’ and ‘Chernobyl Child’, where she addresses historical and societal issues. This adds another layer of complexity to the series, inviting viewers to reflect not only on the personal aspects of parenthood but also on broader socio-political themes.
In essence, ‘Fear of Babies’ encourages viewers to question and reevaluate their understanding of childhood, parental relationships, and societal expectations. The series challenges the comfortable narratives surrounding innocence and prompts a more nuanced exploration of the multifaceted and sometimes unsettling aspects of the human experience. Both the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Centraal Museum in Utrecht have this series in their collection.

€ 5.000 - 10.000
€ 4.800