Marcel Dzama

 “I always feel I have too many ideas and don't have enough time to do them. I have so many sketchbooks with ideas I know I'll never do because I don't have the time, or I'd have to rely on too many people to make them happen. A lot of times I end up going back to drawing because it is easier to get the outcome that I planned in my mind.” 2010

Marcel Dzama was born in Winnipeg in 1974. He was one of the founding members of the influential drawing collective The Royal Art Lodge (active from 1996 – 2008) that gained international attention for collaboratively produced drawings, videos, paintings, dolls, comics, artist books and other art making activities. Dzama remained a member until moving to New York in 2004 at the urging of his dealer David Zwirner. 

Dzama’s work is populated by a cast of reoccurring characters – bears, bats, and trees; masked assassins, military officers and acrobatic performers. In his drawings, painting, sculptures, installations and videos, ghostly girls and mongrel men clash and convulse in otherworldly scenes.  His colour pallet of murky browns, washed out greys and deepened reds has become instantly recognizable, as has his penchant for dark, even childlike humor which he uses to explore subjects as complex as the motivations behind acts of power, violence and erotica. Pulling influences from folk art, Dadaism and the landscape of his native Winnipeg, Dzama’s work is at once grotesque and alluring, provocative and playful.

Dzama cites Marcel Duchamp as one of his greatest inspirations and has drawn on the artist’s near-obsession with chess as a starting point for his video A Game of Chess, 2011 in which in which life-size Kings, Queens, Rooks and Pawns duel for supremacy in a production brought to life in Guadalajara, Mexico.

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