When Booker prize nominee Colm Tóibín was asked to write something for the Marlene Dumas exhibition catalogue he knew he wasn’t interested in examining her work in traditional academic form. (This video contains images of a sensitive nature.)

Instead he composed a short story about loss, grief and the intoxicating ‘power of watching’ – in response to the melancholy, fleshy figures she paints.

Inspired by the haunting faces and bodies in Dumas’ work, Tóibín delves into the interior life of a lonely narrator and paints a full and moving portrait of a man with words instead of brush strokes.

The short story Barton Springs features in The Image as Burden exhibition catalogue.