Marcel Dzama (b. 1974)

A Game of Chess (2011)

Born in 1974 in Winnipeg, Canada, Marcel Dzama’s work is inhabited by an expansive cast of recurring human, animal, and hybrid characters. Typically manipulating a distinctive palette of muted browns, grays, greens, and reds, the artist has developed an immediately recognizable visual language that penetratingly explores human action and motivation, often by means of the violent, erotic, grotesque, and absurd. His practice unleashes a universe of childhood fantasies and otherworldly fairytales, drawing equally from folk vernacular as from artistic influences that include Dada and Marcel Duchamp. Widely known for his works on paper, Dzama has in recent years expanded his practice to include sculpture, painting, film, large-scale polyptychs, and dioramas. In the latter, he constructs intricate, complex, three-dimensional scenes using his signature drawings, collage elements, cardboard, and occasionally ceramics. He creates a cast of human figures, animals, and imaginary hybrids to life, and has developed an international reputation and following for his art that depicts fanciful, anachronistic worlds.