Crime’s face: Imagining and representing kleptomania

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Marlene Dumas is regarded as one of the most important international painters of this time. In this article, an analysis is made of what her painting The Kleptomaniac (2005) and, in particular, what its title represents. Drawing upon art history, I begin by looking at the original Portrait of a Kleptomaniac (ca. 1820) by Géricault of which Dumas has painted her own version. This will be followed by a discussion of the history of the concept of kleptomania in psychiatry and an analysis of how that concept is reproduced by Dumas's painting. It will be argued that, by giving the portrait of a man the title of 'kleptomaniac' in 2005, Dumas represents a type of criminal in a way that neither does justice to the history of the concept of kleptomania, nor to the phenomenon itself. By mobilizing a contested and obsolete psychiatric concept as a title for a painting, the subject itself is mystified and the effect on the viewer of the painting is not only disorienting, but also ethically problematic.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)21-39
Number of pages19
JournalCrime, Media, Culture
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Fingerprint

Crime
Painting
offense
History
art history
painter
history
psychiatry
justice
Imagining
Psychiatry

Cite this

@article{872feb3c11684f029700d8de73eec319,
title = "Crime’s face: Imagining and representing kleptomania",
abstract = "Marlene Dumas is regarded as one of the most important international painters of this time. In this article, an analysis is made of what her painting The Kleptomaniac (2005) and, in particular, what its title represents. Drawing upon art history, I begin by looking at the original Portrait of a Kleptomaniac (ca. 1820) by G{\'e}ricault of which Dumas has painted her own version. This will be followed by a discussion of the history of the concept of kleptomania in psychiatry and an analysis of how that concept is reproduced by Dumas's painting. It will be argued that, by giving the portrait of a man the title of 'kleptomaniac' in 2005, Dumas represents a type of criminal in a way that neither does justice to the history of the concept of kleptomania, nor to the phenomenon itself. By mobilizing a contested and obsolete psychiatric concept as a title for a painting, the subject itself is mystified and the effect on the viewer of the painting is not only disorienting, but also ethically problematic.",
author = "{de Haan}, W.J.M.",
year = "2015",
doi = "10.1177/1741659014566826",
language = "English",
volume = "11",
pages = "21--39",
journal = "Crime, Media, Culture",
issn = "1741-6590",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Ltd",
number = "1",

}

Crime’s face: Imagining and representing kleptomania. / de Haan, W.J.M.

In: Crime, Media, Culture, Vol. 11, No. 1, 1, 2015, p. 21-39.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Crime’s face: Imagining and representing kleptomania

AU - de Haan, W.J.M.

PY - 2015

Y1 - 2015

N2 - Marlene Dumas is regarded as one of the most important international painters of this time. In this article, an analysis is made of what her painting The Kleptomaniac (2005) and, in particular, what its title represents. Drawing upon art history, I begin by looking at the original Portrait of a Kleptomaniac (ca. 1820) by Géricault of which Dumas has painted her own version. This will be followed by a discussion of the history of the concept of kleptomania in psychiatry and an analysis of how that concept is reproduced by Dumas's painting. It will be argued that, by giving the portrait of a man the title of 'kleptomaniac' in 2005, Dumas represents a type of criminal in a way that neither does justice to the history of the concept of kleptomania, nor to the phenomenon itself. By mobilizing a contested and obsolete psychiatric concept as a title for a painting, the subject itself is mystified and the effect on the viewer of the painting is not only disorienting, but also ethically problematic.

AB - Marlene Dumas is regarded as one of the most important international painters of this time. In this article, an analysis is made of what her painting The Kleptomaniac (2005) and, in particular, what its title represents. Drawing upon art history, I begin by looking at the original Portrait of a Kleptomaniac (ca. 1820) by Géricault of which Dumas has painted her own version. This will be followed by a discussion of the history of the concept of kleptomania in psychiatry and an analysis of how that concept is reproduced by Dumas's painting. It will be argued that, by giving the portrait of a man the title of 'kleptomaniac' in 2005, Dumas represents a type of criminal in a way that neither does justice to the history of the concept of kleptomania, nor to the phenomenon itself. By mobilizing a contested and obsolete psychiatric concept as a title for a painting, the subject itself is mystified and the effect on the viewer of the painting is not only disorienting, but also ethically problematic.

U2 - 10.1177/1741659014566826

DO - 10.1177/1741659014566826

M3 - Article

VL - 11

SP - 21

EP - 39

JO - Crime, Media, Culture

JF - Crime, Media, Culture

SN - 1741-6590

IS - 1

M1 - 1

ER -