Canadian artist Marcel Dzama is known for imaginative drawings, sculptures, dioramas, and films rooted in the traditions of Surrealism, Dada and outsider art. His 2013 film Une danse des bouffons (or A jester's dance) tells the tale of a romance between two principal figures of these traditions: Dada icon Marcel Duchamp and Brazilian sculptor Maria Martins, who was the model for Duchamp's final, enigmatic artwork Étant donnés. Rife with art-historical references not only to the work of Duchamp but also to Francisco Goya, Francis Picabia and Joseph Beuys, among others, Une danse des bouffons navigates a sexually charged and mesmerizing world in which fantasy and torture run amok. The gallery presentation also includes a storyboard for the film featuring Dzama’s ink and watercolor drawings, renderings of small hybrid figures resembling children’s book illustrations. The drawings underscore the fantastical elements in a film that combines the carnivalesque with a nightmarish exploration of the surreal.
Lead support for Marcel Dzama: A Jester's Dance is provided by Candy and Michael Barasch. Additional generous support is provided by the Herbert W. and Susan L. Johe Endowment and the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities and Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design.