Marcel Dzama: Hollow Laughter



English / German, Softcover
80 pages
• 15 x 10.1 cm
• Published by VfmK,
Verlag für moderne Kunst, 2014



At first blush, the vibrant ink drawings, collages, film works, dioramas, and sculptures by Canadian artist Marcel Dzama appear to be whimsical visions of a playful imagination. But a second glance reveals them to be marked by a darker, more twisted sensibility--original expressions of a grotesque and unjust world.

Marcel Dzama: Hollow Laughter, produced on the occasion of Dzama's first institutional solo presentation in Switzerland at Kunstmuseum Thun, offers viewers a stunning introduction to the artist's strangely contorted universe. Featuring a text by museum director and curator Helen Hirsch, this modest, concise publication includes intimate details and color reproductions of Dzama's meticulously composed imaginings, which take the form of drawings, sculptures, collages, installations, and a film--Une danse des bouffons (or A jester's dance)--which made its European debut as part of the exhibition.

Recalling the unsettling echo of "hollow laughter," something subtle is always awry behind the façade of Dzama's appealing, expertly executed surfaces, often involving masked, costumed, or armed characters who engage in bizarre and occasionally lewd acts with other protagonists, and suggest a uniquely non-pedantic take on the excesses of society. Indeed, the disjunction between the initial impression and the lasting one is mirrored by the archaic look-and-feel of his images that bring into focus the vulnerability, manipulation, and discomfort often couched in interpersonal interactions.

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Marcel Dzama

Marcel Dzama

Marcel Dzama (b. 1974 in Winnipeg) has fascinated a wide international audience with his drawings, sculptures, installations and video works. Using a highly recognizable visual language based on a multitude of artistic references, subjective experiences and socio-political issues, he invites us into his very personal world full of life and death, music, calm and violence. The artist lives and works in New York.