Death by Association


Oil on canvas

70 x 80 x 2.7 cm

Death by Association depicts a young boy lying on the ground, his face contracted by pain, with clenched teeth and a frown. Yet this expression is paradoxically fixed, having become the stigmata of fear and suffering felt by the child in the last moments of a violent death.

Through this oil on canvas, Marlene Dumas likely expresses her own fears as a mother. The artist herself approaches these representation of children killed and her sense of having become a “mother to the child” who knows, at the time of giving life, that she enters a time of grief. Her funereal works are based essentially on photographs. The artist here is inspired by a photo which appeared in the papers, showing a young Palestinian boy killed by the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip.

Marlene Dumas’ painting Death by Association belongs to the Pinault Collection. The work was first shown at the “Prima Materia” (“Raw Material”) exhibition at the Punta della Dogana.