Living in Limbo & Dreaming of Paradise | Marcel Dzama

Marcel Dzama


In these days of forced lockdowns required by the pandemic, Marcel Dzama worked at home on drawings that expressed the nostalgia he felt for places he had visited recently and would not be able to return to at any fixed date, given the prevailing uncertainty. Travel and the exploration of nature are themes that have become recurrent in Dzama’s work. The series presented in the exhibition Living in Limbo & Dreaming of Paradise was inspired by photographs the artist took during his most recent trips to Mexico, Morocco, and Fire Island, back when the world still seemed normal. The result is a group of images of tropical vegetation, forms of play, and reverie, along with a characteristic selection of Dzama’s mysterious personages, including dancers, masked figures, and fantastical hybrids. His inspiration is drawn from literature, mythology, and biblical stories. For the MAZ, the drawings transferred to lithographs, have been hand painted by the artist, so that each one is unique and unrepeatable.


Thinking that we were getting back to old times, we made some plans with the artist. The hand painted lithographs were to be accompanied by a large mural executed in situ by Marcel and Maurice Dzama, as well as by several public performances of the choreography of Death Disco Dance. But an unexpected personage upended our hopes: Omicron arrived in New York City and then landed in Zapopan, preventing the artist and his father from coming to the museum. We are hoping now that the virus will soon recede and that we will be able shortly to announce both the termination of the mural and dates for the live performances.


Along with the prints intervened by the artist, a projection of Death Disco Dance, a video the artist filmed in Guadalajara, can be seen in the museum’s reading room. Projected simultaneously on several monitors, the video is a four-minute loop with characters representing chess pieces, based on another of the artist’s films, A Game of Chess. The dancers, in masks and polka-dotted unitards, perform a synchronized choreography to a disco rhythm composed by the artist on a small drum machine.


Other films by the artist, to be presented in the auditorium, are A Game of Chess (2011), The Infidels (2009), and Une danse des bouffons [A Jester’s Dance] (2013).


Viviana Kuri