Marcel Dzama's first solo show at Tim Van Laere Gallery in Antwerp celebrates the post-Trump era
Tim Van Laere Gallery is presenting the first solo show by Marcel Dzama (°1974, Winnipeg; lives and works in New York) with the gallery. The show, titled 'The Moon is Following Me' includes a wide selection of drawings, sculptures, dioramas and a film, and marks the artist’s first solo presentation in Belgium.
Marcel Dzama has developed an immediately recognizable visual language that investigates human action and motivation, as well as the blurred relationship between the real and the subconscious. Drawing equally from folk vernacular as from art-historical and contemporary influences, Dzama’s work visualizes a universe of childhood fantasies and otherworldly fairy tales. Dzama's image repertoire includes a wide range of art-historical quotations. One can recognize ballet costumes by Oskar Schlemmer or Francis Picabia, for example, and direct references to Francisco de Goya, Marcel Duchamp and Joseph Beuys.
Dzama is known to has responded to current events with art. His Instagram feed is a treasure trove of timely drawings, from a tribute to the late justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to a watercolor of President Trump with a golf club painted directly onto the front page of the New York Times.
For this exhibition, Marcel Dzama started a series of drawings with more hopeful themes.
"Because the Trump years were so traumatizing.” he says. “Also I usually either do political drawing or I go for this kind of vacation feeling. Almost idyllic. A lot of them are based on photographs taken of my son and wife on vacation. I am still playing with this. At the time I was going for a kind of paradise lost just before Fall and at the moment they turned portraying scenes during Fall. Most of it is made during lockdown both because of the pandemic but also because of rioting after George Floyd’s death. We had a curfew here. I did a show at David Zwirner gallery in Paris where few of the drawings were there together with the series on the Pink moon, coming from the image of the moon I saw one night with my son through his telescope, it was beautiful. I am still adding new ones to the series. Actually I did few more the last couple of days because I didn’t want to just watch the elections. I needed to draw in order not to think too much about it. “The Beast is dead and the lion is found”. “Calypso”, “It is my flesh that she wears”, “Here I stand in the land of praise and blame”. There are a lot of sinister elements mixed with more serene themes. I am also working on some dioramas and being here in this second house in Long Island gives me the chance to work outside using more toxic paint and it has been really fun.”
— Marcel Dzama
Chess is a recurring motif for the artist who finds inspiration in its intricate balance between improvisation and predetermination. While the game serves as an underlying theme in many of his drawings and dioramas, Dzama’s film, entitled Dance Floor Dracula, Prelude in C-Sharp Minor, more directly centers on a whimsical chess game that takes the form of a ballet, featuring collaborators Amy Sedaris as Marcel Dzama and Raymond Pettibon as David Zwirner. By using chess as a structural device, the artist makes reference to the early twentieth-century avant-garde artists Marcel Duchamp and Francis Picabia, who employed the game’s special set of rules and moves in their work as metaphors for larger questions regarding free will, chance, and strategy. Integrating this artistic precedent with a subtle, more contemporary nod to the two-party political system in the United States, Dzama’s works are simultaneously familiar and mysterious, humorous and intense, chaotic and orderly.
Marcel Dzama is born in °1974, Winnipeg, Canada and currently lives and works in New York, US. Work by the artist is held in museum collections worldwide, including Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and Tate Gallery, London.
The Moon is Following Me
21 January - 6 March 2021
Tim Van Laere Gallery, Antwerp