David Zwirner presents new work by artist Marcel Dzama this month, continuing the artist’s exploration of travel, nature and colorful reflections on the history and social underpinnings of art. The show coincides with the opening of a major survey of the artist’s work at the Sara Hildén Art Museum, Tampere, Finland.
Drawing its title from the Velvet Underground song, Who Loves the Sun compiles a selection of new drawings that expand on Dzama’s already well established techniques and style, inspired in particular by trips to Morocco, Mexico and Fire Island before the pandemic. These photos serve as a bed for the drawings here, incorporating elements into the works and embellishing them with tropical imagery, depictions of leisure and play, and bright colors with illustrations of masked and mysterious characters, as well as dancers, wild animals, and hybrid figures inspired by mythic, biblical, and literary subjects.
Dzama’s work walks a peculiar line between historical study and subtle conceptual arc, alluding to the rare convergence of recent lunar events, including a so-called super blood moon and a blue moon. Other works present delicately colored underwater vignettes of seahorses and marine flora and fauna undisturbed by the world above. For Dzama, these fantastical compositions of familiar yet far-off, enchanted worlds respond, in part, to the universal experience of isolation during the pandemic, and a sense of wanderlust that many experienced while in lockdown.
One piece, a large six-part work on paper, measuring over twenty-five feet long, which Dzama first debuted at his 2021 solo exhibition at the Savannah College of Art and Design Museum of Art, Georgia, is also be included in the show. Similarly influenced by the plant and wildlife Dzama encountered in his travels, this massive work offers a view into a lush environment filled with bats, monkeys, and butterflies, as well as dancing figures, a beaming moon, Humpty-Dumpty, and several skulls, which serve as somewhat sinister memento mori among an otherwise jubilant scene.
Combining these varied aesthetics and scenes together, Dzama once again orchestrates a swirling environment of characters and spaces that envelop the viewer.
The show closes October 23rd.
– D. Creahan