Installation view of the exhibition, Marcel Dzama: Crossing the Line, at David Zwirner in Hong Kong, dated 2019.

Marcel Dzama

Crossing the Line

David Zwirner is pleased to present Crossing the Line, an exhibition of new work by Canadian-born artist Marcel Dzama at the gallery’s Hong Kong location. Including drawings, dioramas, and a film, this exhibition marks the artist’s first solo presentation in Greater China and his ninth with David Zwirner.

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Image: Installation view, Marcel Dzama: Crossing the line, David Zwirner, Hong Kong, 2019

Dates
January 22March 9, 2019
Opening Reception
Tuesday, January 22, 6–8 PM
Artist

"I have always enjoyed trickster characters throughout history and mythology, as a way to escape the hold of the logical. I do from time to time candy-coat what I’m projecting in my work. Like my anger and anxieties around our times. In some of the work, I try to explain it, but in other works I pass over it in silence. I like the viewer to decide what’s happening."

Image: Marcel Dzama, Overwhelmed by the sun and tormented by the night, 2018 (detail)

A detail from a work on paper by Marcel Dzama, titled And who breaks a butterfly on a wheel? or A rapture, a butterfly, a dancer and a bowie knife, dated 2018.
A work on paper by Marcel Dzama, titled Ocean child, dated 2018.

Marcel Dzama

Ocean child, 2018
Gouache, ink, and graphite on paper
41 1/2 x 29 1/2 inches (105.4 x 74.9 cm) Framed: 44 5/8 x 32 7/8 inches (113.3 x 83.5 cm)

"I enjoy interpretations—especially misinterpretations. Relationships between the characters change from work to work and show to show, and so does any associated symbolism or meaning. It’s almost as if they have their own separate worlds or dimensions all within the same universe. I do imagine background stories for most of the characters, but those too can change from show to show.…Right now I am definitely going through my blue period."

"There are a lot of themes of rebirth, or life-into-death. For example, the figure of a phoenix appears a lot, as in The female freedom fighters for our future and Moustiques domestiques #9 (or I’ll trap this moment before it’s ripe)."

A work on paper by Marcel Dzama, titled, The female freedom fighters for our future, dated 2018.

Marcel Dzama

The female freedom fighters for our future, 2018
Gouache, ink, and graphite on paper
14 x 22 inches (35.6 x 55.9 cm) Framed: 17 x 25 1/8 x 1 1/2 inches (43.2 x 63.8 x 3.8 cm)
A work on paper in eight parts by Marcel Dzama, titled Storyboard of the tension around which history is built (or Storyboard chapter 3 of a flower of evil), dated 2018.

Marcel Dzama

Storyboard of the tension around which history is built (or Storyboard chapter 3 of a flower of evil), 2018
Watercolor, ink, metallic acrylic, collage, graphite, and adhesive tape on paper in eight (8) parts
Each: 9 1/2 x 6 inches (24.1 x 15.2 cm)

"Sometimes I will start with just a blank page and do an automatic drawing. Other times I’ll have an image in mind or in front of me, and I’ll use it as a reference in my composition. I think I’m influenced by making films. I subconsciously think about the rule of thirds, the page divided into nine equal segments by two vertical and two horizontal lines, with the most important elements at the points where the lines intersect. But I purposely break those rules from time to time. The medium I start with is graphite, and then with the smaller drawings I’ll use watercolor paint, and the larger drawings are acrylic paint. Every now and then, though, I’ll keep them just in graphite."

"[Nothing we shall see] was inspired by William Blake’s drawing of Dante encountering Beatrice. When he sees God for the first time, there’s just this swirl of eyeball clouds."

Image: Marcel Dzama, Nothing we shall see, 2018 (detail)

A detail from a work on paper by Marcel Dzama, titled And who breaks a butterfly on a wheel? or A rapture, a butterfly, a dancer and a bowie knife, dated 2018.
A detail from a work on paper by Marcel Dzama, titled And who breaks a butterfly on a wheel? or A rapture, a butterfly, a dancer and a bowie knife, dated 2018.

"I think the text in Long live this creature of good fortune says, ‘Place your bets.’ Usually, I’ll use the language of the place where I’ll be showing. I like not having English. Maybe because I showed in Spain earlier this year, I’m writing in Spanish. So I try to include Chinese in this series."

Image: Marcel Dzama,And who breaks a butterfly on a wheel? or A rapture, a butterfly, a dancer and a bowie knife, 2018 (detail)

"This situation right now in the United States with Trump makes you want to just burn it all down and start over.… I don’t censor myself. If you’re sending out a political message, it has only one interpretation. But when I do an automatic drawing, it’s open to many interpretations."

A work on paper by Marcel Dzama, titled Enough, dated 2018.

Marcel Dzama

Enough, 2018
Gouache, ink, and graphite on paper
29 7/8 x 21 3/4 inches (75.9 x 55.2 cm)

"When I lived in Canada, my drawings were really minimal—usually two or three characters on a page. Then, when I moved to New York, all of a sudden I made these very claustrophobic-looking drawings with characters everywhere. I wanted to give them some sort of order, so I put them in dance positions. Then I started buying old dance magazines from the seventies and the sixties. I would draw the poses from the magazines and would read the articles. I became fascinated. Ballet came to me from giving order to chaos."

Image: Marcel Dzama, Don't ask her...she'll tell you the truth. (or We don't hide from every searching eye), 2018 (detail)

A detail from a work on paper by Marcel Dzama, titled As it all falls away, my love and I will ride away, dated 2018

Published by David Zwirner Books, Marcel Dzama: Crossing the Line includes a conversation between Dzama and the scholar and writer Laila Pedro. The publicationis available in both English only and bilingual English/traditional Chinese editions. 

"In what you could call 'aftermath' of the US elections of 2016, we sat down with Brooklyn-based, Calgary-born painter Marcel Dzama in his studio in NY and talked about how much art could be effective in the supermodern world.  . . . Fast-forward to [his] newest solo exhibition, Crossing the Line . . .and the artist is still speaking for the times in poignant and graceful ways. Gone are the days of his minimal works at part of the Royal Art Lodge; today sees dense, complicated, highly detailed works that touch on contemporary issues but almost appear out of a fairy-tale."

Read more in Juxtapoz magazine

A work on paper by Marcel Dzama, titled, As it all falls away, my love and I will ride away, dated 2018.

Marcel Dzama

As it all falls away, my love and I will ride away, 2018
Gouache, ink, and graphite on paper
49 3/4 x 38 1/4 inches (126.4 x 97.2 cm) Framed: 53 1/8 x 41 3/4 x 1 3/4 inches (134.9 x 106 x 4.4 cm)
A work on paper by Marcel Dzama, titled Crossing the line, dated 2018.

Marcel Dzama

Crossing the line, 2018
Ink, gouache, acrylic, oil pastel, and graphite on paper
38 1/4 x 49 3/4 inches (97.2 x 126.4 cm) Framed: 41 3/4 x 53 1/8 inches (106 x 134.9 cm)
A work on paper by Marcel Dzama, titled And who breaks a butterfly on a wheel? or A rapture, a butterfly, a dancer and a bowie knife, dated 2018.

Marcel Dzama

And who breaks a butterfly on a wheel? or A rapture, a butterfly, a dancer and a bowie knife, 2018
Gouache and ink on paper
45 3/8 x 36 3/4 inches (115.3 x 93.3 cm) Framed: 49 x 39 7/8 inches (124.5 x 101.3 cm)
A work on paper by Marcel Dzama, titled Dark before the bright exit, dated 2018.

Marcel Dzama

Dark before the bright exit, 2018
Gouache, ink, graphite, crayon, and collage on paper
36 1/2 x 65 3/4 inches (92.7 x 167 cm) Framed: 39 3/4 x 69 inches (101 x 175.3 cm)
A work on paper by Marcel Dzama, titled The revolution's blue (or The blue revolution), dated 2018.

Marcel Dzama

The revolution's blue (or The blue revolution), 2018
Gouache, ink, and graphite on paper
41 1/4 x 29 1/2 inches (104.8 x 74.9 cm) Framed: 44 3/4 x 32 7/8 inches (113.7 x 83.5 cm)
A work on paper by Marcel Dzama, titled, Ghost riders (or Watch out he don't fall on you) dated 2018.

Marcel Dzama

Ghost riders (or Watch out he don't fall on you), 2018
Gouache, ink, and graphite on paper
30 x 22 3/8 inches (76.2 x 56.8 cm) Framed: 33 x 25 3/8 x 1 1/2 inches (83.8 x 64.5 x 3.8 cm)
A work on paper by Marcel Dzama, titled, The Riders are approaching, dated 2018.

Marcel Dzama

The Riders are approaching, 2018
Watercolor, ink, and graphite on paper
38 1/4 x 50 inches (97.2 x 127 cm) Framed: 42 1/4 x 53 3/4 x 1 3/4 inches (107.3 x 136.5 x 4.4 cm)
A sculpture by Marcel Dzama, titled Lost in the circles, dated 2017 to 2018.

Marcel Dzama

Lost in the circles, 2017-2018
Wood, card stock, graphite, acrylic, gouache, and glue
14 5/8 x 28 1/4 x 15 3/4 inches (37.1 x 71.8 x 40 cm)
A sculpture by Marcel Dzama, titled We gazed out ahead, silent and impatient, dated 2018.

Marcel Dzama

We gazed out ahead, silent and impatient, 2018
Wood, graphite, acrylic, gouache, and glue
22 1/2 x 28 1/4 x 15 3/4 inches (57.2 x 71.8 x 40 cm)
A work on paper by Marcel Dzama, titled Don't ask her...she'll tell you the truth. (or We don't hide from every searching eye), dated 2018.

Marcel Dzama

Don't ask her...she'll tell you the truth. (or We don't hide from every searching eye), 2018
Gouache and graphite on paper
22 x 14 inches (55.9 x 35.6 cm) Framed: 25 1/8 x 17 inches (63.8 x 43.2 cm)
A work on paper by Marcel Dzama, titled The spirits of the air live off of the smell of revolution, dated 2018.

Marcel Dzama

The spirits of the air live off of the smell of revolution, 2018
Gouache and graphite on paper
14 x 22 inches (35.6 x 55.9 cm) Framed: 17 x 25 1/8 inches (43.2 x 63.8 cm)
A work on paper by Marcel Dzama, titled, The afterbirth of a nation (or The shame-faced one) dated 2018.

Marcel Dzama

The afterbirth of a nation (or The shame-faced one), 2018
Gouache, ink, and graphite on paper
22 x 14 inches (55.9 x 35.6 cm) Framed: 25 1/4 x 17 1/8 x 1 1/2 inches (64.1 x 43.5 x 3.8 cm)
A work on paper by Marcel Dzama, titled, Overwhelmed by the sun and tormented by the night, dated 2018.

Marcel Dzama

Overwhelmed by the sun and tormented by the night, 2018
Gouache, ink, and graphite on paper
14 x 22 inches (35.6 x 55.9 cm) Framed: 17 x 25 1/4 x 1 1/2 inches (43.2 x 64.1 x 3.8 cm)
A work on paper by Marcel Dzama, titled Saudade, dated 2018.

Marcel Dzama

Saudade, 2018
Gouache, ink, and graphite on paper
13 7/8 x 11 inches (35.2 x 27.9 cm) Framed: 18 1/4 x 15 1/4 inches (46.4 x 38.7 cm)
A work on paper by Marcel Dzama titled Now we take flight, dated 2018.

Marcel Dzama

Now we take flight, 2018
Gouache, ink, and graphite on paper
22 x 14 inches (55.9 x 35.6 cm) Framed: 25 1/4 x 17 1/8 inches (64.1 x 43.5 cm)
A work on paper by Marcel Dzama, titled Here we are, dated 2018.

Marcel Dzama

Here we are, 2018
Gouache, ink, and graphite on paper
13 1/2 x 22 inches (34.3 x 55.9 cm) Framed: 16 3/4 x 25 1/4 x 1 1/2 inches (42.5 x 64.1 x 3.8 cm)
A work on paper by Marcel Dzama, titled Siehe, wir lieben nicht, wie die blumen, dated 2018.

Marcel Dzama

Siehe, wir lieben nicht, wie die blumen, 2018
Gouache and graphite on paper
22 x 14 inches (55.9 x 35.6 cm) Framed: 25 1/8 x 17 x 1 1/2 inches (63.8 x 43.2 x 3.8 cm)
A work on paper by Marcel Dzama, titled The resurrection of the underdog, dated 2018.

Marcel Dzama

The resurrection of the underdog, 2018
Gouache, ink, and graphite on paper
22 x 14 inches (55.9 x 35.6 cm) Framed: 25 1/4 x 17 1/8 inches (64.1 x 43.5 cm)
A work on paper by Marcel Dzama, titled, Welcome to the year of the pig, dated 2018.

Marcel Dzama

Welcome to the year of the pig, 2018
Gouache, ink, graphite, and charcoal on paper
15 x 11 inches (38.1 x 27.9 cm) Framed: 19 1/8 x 15 1/8 x 1 1/8 inches (48.5 x 38.5 x 2.8 cm)
A work on paper by Marcel Dzama, titled The summer breeze will reach into the soul and cause revelations, dated 2018.

Marcel Dzama

The summer breeze will reach into the soul and cause revelations, 2018
Gouache and graphite on paper
22 x 14 inches (55.9 x 35.6 cm) Framed: 25 1/8 x 17 x 1 1/2 inches (63.8 x 43.2 x 3.8 cm)
A work on paper by Marcel Dzama, titled Why the darkness and obscurity in all your words and laws that none touch the fruit in the serpents jaws (or Everything that blooms is holy or A garden we know nothing of), dated 2018.

Marcel Dzama

Why the darkness and obscurity in all your words and laws that none touch the fruit in the serpents jaws (or Everything that blooms is holy or A garden we know nothing of), 2018
Gouache and graphite on paper
22 x 14 inches (55.9 x 35.6 cm) Framed: 25 1/8 x 17 inches (63.8 x 43.2 cm)
A work on paper by Marcel Dzama, titled Ocean child, dated 2018.

Marcel Dzama

Ocean child, 2018
Gouache, ink, and graphite on paper
41 1/2 x 29 1/2 inches (105.4 x 74.9 cm) Framed: 44 5/8 x 32 7/8 inches (113.3 x 83.5 cm)
A work on paper by Marcel Dzama, titled Nothing we shall see, dated 2018.

Marcel Dzama

Nothing we shall see, 2018
Gouache, ink, and graphite on paper
40 x 26 1/2 inches (101.6 x 67.3 cm) Framed: 43 1/8 x 29 5/8 inches (109.5 x 75.2 cm)
A work on paper by Marcel Dzama, titled All this and more, dated 2018.

Marcel Dzama

All this and more, 2018
Gouache, ink, and graphite on paper
30 1/2 x 21 7/8 inches (77.5 x 55.6 cm) Framed: 33 3/8 x 24 7/8 inches (84.8 x 63.2 cm)
A work on paper by Marcel Dzama, titled, Pachanga, dated 2018.

Marcel Dzama

Pachanga, 2018
Screenprint, gouache, and ink on paper
19 1/2 x 16 3/8 inches (49.5 x 41.6 cm)
A work on paper by Marcel Dzama, titled, Silver 10, dated 2018.

Marcel Dzama

Silver 10, 2018
Screenprint, gouache, and ink on paper
19 1/2 x 16 3/8 inches (49.5 x 41.6 cm)
A work on paper by Marcel Dzama, titled Only at times of danger the curtain of the pupils silently open, dated 2018.

Marcel Dzama

Only at times of danger the curtain of the pupils silently open, 2018
Acrylic, collage, spray paint, and graphite on cardboard
54 1/2 x 48 inches (138.4 x 121.9 cm) Framed: 59 x 51 1/2 inches (149.9 x 130.8 x 4.4 cm)
A work on paper by Marcel Dzama, titled Enough, dated 2018.

Marcel Dzama

Enough, 2018
Gouache, ink, and graphite on paper
29 7/8 x 21 3/4 inches (75.9 x 55.2 cm) Framed: 32 7/8 x 24 3/4 inches (83.5 x 62.9 cm)
A work on paper by Marcel Dzama, titled We ate time and drank the sun, dated 2018.

Marcel Dzama

We ate time and drank the sun, 2018
Gouache, ink, and graphite on paper
36 1/2 x 27 inches (92.7 x 68.6 cm) Framed: 39 5/8 x 30 1/2 inches (100.6 x 77.5 cm)

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