Three babies in bathing suits float in front of a heavenly blue sky in Me x 3. Derived from a specific photo of me as a child, the innocence of the idyllic scene is shattered by the fact that the stripes on the suit are miniature measuring tapes, strategically located at the hip, waist and bust lines. With movable heads, arms and legs, these figures maintain the potential for motion, yet remain still at the ends of functionless puppet strings. The repetition of the form to create a grouping of three suggests a protective force: safety in numbers. There is knowledge in these arresting countenances that is inappropriate to the youthful bodies: an uncomfortable juxtaposition of mistrust and naivety.
Dominic van den Boogerd writes on Marlene Dumas' Die Baba (The Baby), “The eyes are the windows of the soul, it is said, but what do we actually see in the eyes of a baby? Marlene Dumas has painted an infant with an unfathomable expression that subjects us to scrutiny.” (van den Boogerd, p.57) In this way, the babies of Me x 3, also reverse the viewer/object gaze as well as the adult/child gaze.