Critics’ Picks

Darius the Great (detail), 2007, mixed-media costume and ink and watercolor on paper, dimensions vary. Installation view.

Darius the Great (detail), 2007, mixed-media costume and ink and watercolor on paper, dimensions vary. Installation view.

London

Marcel Dzama

Timothy Taylor Gallery
21 Dering Street
March 8–April 13, 2007

Marcel Dzama’s Ljubojevic (all works 2007), a life-size bear costume peering through a hole in the wall just behind the gallery's front windows, is a gatekeeper at the entrance to this iteration artist’s fantastic world. Inside, Dzama’s drawings and photo collages give life and dimension to his cast of characters, evocative of those in Roald Dahl’s playful tales. The ink-and-watercolor sketch for Ukuleter describes a tree with a thick trunk and spindly branches as a “day-time talk show king” who “popularized the ukelele which was named after him.” But his story ends in misfortune—he was “burnt as fire wood in the winter of 2002.” Dzama’s work contains real humor, and while it is often countered by moments of pathos, his stories seem to be, at their core, comedies. Just a few doors down the street, Dzama’s twenty-minute film The Lotus Eaters, the story of a man who slips into a dream world of his own creation as he mourns the loss of his wife, loops throughout the day. On the exhibition’s opening night, the pianist Rod Melvin performed the music for the film, taken from the British film-noir classic The Third Man. An old upright remains in the screening room, one of Dzama’s creatures propped on its bench while another rests in one of the cinema chairs, and the recording of Melvin’s performance is swept away with Dzama’s moving pictures.