During the opening night of the KunstKracht conversation series, Marlene Dumas and Alfred Schaffer exchange views about their relationship to the politics of image.

Information in Dutch

Where and when? 

SPUI25, Spui 25-27, 1012 XM Amsterdam, Tuesday 19 September 2017, 7.30 - 9.30 p.m.

What about?

What we think we know about the world and how we perceive the world is influenced by the images we see on television, in the news and in the public domain. How do contemporary painting and poetry deal with such ubiquitous, pervasive images? What is the task or unique opportunity of artists when it comes to a politics of the image? And how do they see their own poetic and painterly work in this regard? Dumas and Schaffer discuss their experiences in the Netherlands, South Africa and elsewhere. 

Language of communication: Dutch and English


The event is fully booked.


Marlene Dumas is a South African-born painter who lives and works in Amsterdam. Her work has received international acclaim for its astute reflection on the politics of images and representation. She has had exhibitions at Documenta (1992), the Venice Biennale (1995), MOCA (Los Angeles), Tate Modern (London) and other major venues.

Alfred Schaffer is an award-winning Dutch poet who lives and works in Stellenbosch, South Africa. His most recent collection of poems, Mens Dier Ding (2014), reflects on the incoherent but politically far-reaching boundaries between man, animal and object. This autumn, Schaffer is writer in residence at Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society. He will also be delivering the public Albert Verwey Lecture at Leiden University.

Ernst van Alphen is Professor of Literary Studies at the Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society and the author of Staging the Archive: Art and Photography in Times of New Media (Reaktion Books, 2014) and Art in Mind: How Contemporary Images Shape Thought (The University of Chicago Press, 2005).

KunstKracht: Image and activism in a post-truth age

We are living in a post-truth age in which facts are no longer decisive and news doesn't necessarily have to be true. What role do the arts play in all this? If facts no longer matter, do images have free rein? Or are they in fact restricted? Are artists, the masters of the image, powerless, or are they the role models that can free our political imagery and spur us to take action? Which political power can we attribute to art? And what about the arts and the politics of the image in the Netherlands?

In autumn 2017, the Society of Arts, Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society and SPUI25 will be organising a series of conversations in which artists, researchers and the public discuss the power of the arts, the importance of a politics of the image, and the role that art can play in that context.