Marcel Dzama Biography

Influenced by folklore, fairy tales and religious iconography, Canadian artist Marcel Dzama's otherworldly ink and watercolour drawings investigate storytelling, desire and identity with a dark twist.

Read More

Life and Influences

Born in 1974 in Winnipeg, Canada, Marcel Dzama received his BFA from the University of Manitoba in 1997.

While at university, he founded The Royal Art Lodge, a collective of Winnipeg-based artists including Michael Dumontier, Neil Farber, and Jon Pylypchuk. The artists would meet once a week to draw and paint, often producing collaborative work in response to each other's practice. The group became a crucial platform for launching the careers of some of its members.

Dzama's creative output is influenced by the dramatic regional flora and fauna surrounding Winnipeg. Other early influences include William Blake, Francisco Goya, and Canadian Inuit artist Nancy Pukingrnak Aupaluktuq.

Ink and Watercolour Drawings

Dzama's curiosity with folk vernacular has led him to depict bizarre and fantastical hybrids of animals and humans in his work. His surreal, dreamlike illustrations show figures such as dancing bandits, pipe-smoking snowmen, cloaked bears and tree people. Dzama's anthropomorphic characters are playful and evocative; the eccentric communities that he portrays are reminiscent of fairy tales and children's stories, but with a dark twist that explores adult themes such as politics, psychology and sexuality. Sometimes erotic and often violent, Marcel Dzama's imaginary worlds are framed as dioramas and polyptychs.

A Jester's Dance (2013)

In 2013, Marcel Dzama produced Une danse des bouffons (A Jester's Dance), a 35-minute film that directly references Marcel Duchamp. Employing a surreal aesthetic, the film is a fictional drama depicting the doomed relationship between Duchamp and Brazilan sculptor Maria Martins. Described by Dzama as a 'Dadaist love story', the artwork is bursting with art historical references.

Costume Design

In addition to his contemporary art practice, Marcel Dzama has worked on costume and stage design for New York City Ballet's The Most Incredible Thing (2016), an ambitious performance based on Hans Christian Andersen's 1870 fairy tale. Dzama also produced an installation to accompany the ballet, titled The tension around which history is built, which was displayed at the David H. Koch Theatre, New York City in 2016.

Marcel Dzama's Exhibitions

In the late 1990s, Dzama was discovered by New York gallery David Zwirner, which has represented him since.

Marcel Dzama has exhibited extensively in solo and group exhibitions all over the world. His solo exhibitions include Who Loves the Sun, David Zwirner, New York (2021); An End to the End Times, the Savannah College of Art and Design Museum of Art (2021); Tonight We Dance, Sara Hildén Art Museum, Tampere, Finland (2021); Ya es hora, Galería Helga de Alvear, Madrid (2018); A Jester's Dance, the University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor (2018); Drawing on a Revolution, La Casa Encendida, Madrid (2017–18); Revolution Blues, Galleri Magnus Karlsson, Stockholm (2017); The Fallen Fables, Crown Point Press, San Francisco (2015–16); Hollow Laughter, Kunstmuseum Thun, Switzerland (2014); The End Game, Chess World Hall of Fame, St Louis (2012); Aux mille tours (Of Many Turns), Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, Montréal (2010).

Marcel Dzama's group exhibitions include Comics Trip!, Collection Lambert, Avignon (2021); Enjoy and Take Care!, Tim Van Laere Gallery, Antwerp (2020); Libro de Disegni, Galerie Isa, Mumbai (2020–21); We Fight to Build a Free World: An Exhibition by Jonathan Horowitz, The Jewish Museum, New York (2020–21); A Passion for Drawing: The Guerlain Collection From the Centre Pompidou Paris, Albertina Museum, Vienna (2019–20); Endless Enigma: Eight Centuries of Fantastic Art, David Zwirner, New York (2018).

Marcel Dzama's Instagram account can be found here.

Marcel Dzama lives and works in New York.

Phoebe Bradford | Ocula | 2021

Marcel Dzama
featured artworks

View 23 More
Resilience by Marcel Dzama contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Marcel Dzama Resilience, 2023 Gouache, watercolour, ink and graphite on paper
162.56 x 134.6 cm
Sies + Höke Request Price & Availability
That old Black Magic by Marcel Dzama contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Marcel Dzama That old Black Magic, 2022 Gouache, watercolour, ink and graphite on paper
41 x 30 cm
Sies + Höke Request Price & Availability
One touch of nature by Marcel Dzama contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Marcel Dzama One touch of nature, 2022 Gouache, watercolour, ink and graphite on paper
31 x 23 cm
Sies + Höke Request Price & Availability
Flood in the garden by Marcel Dzama contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, drawing
Marcel Dzama Flood in the garden, 2022 Pearlescent acrylic ink, watercolour, and graphite on paper in two (2) parts
David Zwirner
Crossing the rubicon by Marcel Dzama contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, drawing
Marcel Dzama Crossing the rubicon, 2022 Pearlescent acrylic ink, watercolor, and graphite on paper
35.6 x 27.9 cm
David Zwirner Request Price & Availability
I'm on my time with everyone by Marcel Dzama contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, drawing
Marcel Dzama I'm on my time with everyone, 2022 Pearlescent acrylic ink, watercolour, and graphite on paper
41.9 x 29.5 cm
David Zwirner Request Price & Availability
My memories are heavier than a golden cat by Marcel Dzama contemporary artwork painting
Marcel Dzama My memories are heavier than a golden cat, 2022 Pearlescent acrylic ink, watercolour, and graphite on paper
75.9 x 56.2 cm
David Zwirner Request Price & Availability
Flowers of romance by Marcel Dzama contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, drawing
Marcel Dzama Flowers of romance, 2021 Pearlescent acrylic ink, watercolour, and graphite on paper
25.4 x 20.3 cm
David Zwirner Contact Gallery
View 23 More

Marcel Dzama
current & recent
exhibitions

View 8 More
View 8 More

Represented by these
Ocula Member Galleries

David Zwirner contemporary art gallery in 19th Street, New York, United States
David Zwirner Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris
Sies + Höke contemporary art gallery in Düsseldorf, Germany
Sies + Höke Düsseldorf
View 8 More

Marcel Dzama in
Ocula Magazine

Read 2 More
Read 2 More
Learn more about the market for works
by Marcel Dzama.
Enquire for a confidential discussion. Enquire Now
Simon Fisher, Ocula CEO
Ocula Advisor
Simon Fisher
Christoper Taylor, Ocula Advisor
Ocula Advisor
Christopher Taylor
Eva Fuchs, Ocula Advisor
Ocula Advisor
Eva Fuchs
Rory Mitchell, Ocula Advisor
Ocula Advisor
Rory Mitchell

Marcel Dzama in
Ocula Advisory

Marcel Dzama in
video & audio

Ocula discover the best in contemporary art icon.
Follow Marcel Dzama
Stay ahead.
Receive updates on new artworks,
exhibitions and articles.
Your personal data is held in accordance with our privacy policy.
Follow
Do you have an Ocula account?
Ocula discover the best in contemporary art icon.
Get Access
Join Ocula to request price and availability of artworks, exhibition price lists and build a collection of favourite artists, galleries and artworks.
Do you have an Ocula account? Login
What best describes your interest in art?

Subscribe to our newsletter for upcoming exhibitions, available works, events and more.
By clicking Sign Up or Continue with Facebook or Google, you agree to Ocula's Terms & Conditions. Your personal data is held in accordance with our Privacy Policy.
Thank you for joining us. Just one more thing...
Soon you will receive an email asking you to complete registration. If you do not receive it then you can check and edit the email address you entered.
Close
Thank you for joining us.
You can now request price and availability of artworks, exhibition price lists and build a collection of favourite artists, galleries and artworks.
Close
Welcome back to Ocula
Enter your email address and password below to login.
Reset Password
Enter your email address to receive a password reset link.
Reset Link Sent
We have sent you an email containing a link to reset your password. Simply click the link and enter your new password to complete this process.
Login