Bollywood rocks a Canadian heart

Mohammed Rafi and Bollywood are a few of Marcel Dzama’s many inspirations that cropped up in his mural for the India Art Fair

Published: 03rd February 2020 08:13 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd February 2020 08:13 AM   |  A+A-

Marcel Dzama

Marcel Dzama

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  Marcel Dzama’s visual language of playing with the real and subconscious, is a rage across various mediums. The Canadian artist excels in both gallery shows, and costume and stage design (when he took the spotlight in New York City Ballet’s The Most Incredible Thing), a performance-based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale. Dzama, represented by David Zwirner and who was a major highlight at the just concluded India Art Fair, oozes strong Bollywood influences. Excerpts:

Considering the Indian motifs in your artwork, you appear to be influenced by India. 
My wall mural was influenced by early Indian films that I had seen while living in Winnipeg, Canada. There is a large Indian population there, and there were many Indian video stores here back in the 90s. I loved Bollywood films, they had such great choreography and music. The ones I remember most usually had a soundtrack by Mohammed Rafi or Kishore Kumar. I also had a few lobby cards and an old book of movie posters from Bollywood films. All these influenced this new work.

What led you to make the mural? 
When I started one of my drawings for the fair, A dance can be taken as a manifesto, I saw it as some sort of apocalyptic Bollywood film where the goddess has come down from the sky and brought justice to the land, and her followers are celebrating with song and dance. But I’m open to interpretations. For the mural, I wanted it to be spontaneous, influenced by my surroundings, new experiences, but I’m sure a few of the characters I’ve been drawing over the years may appear, the page cut and haircut women perhaps, or maybe bats or owls, a three-eyed goddess most likely, some polka dot and perhaps a reference to Duchamp or Picabia.

Have you been to India before?
I really wish I was able to visit India before I made this work. I’ve always wanted to travel to India. I hope to draw on my visit here in India and work from that inspiration.

What’s next for you this year?
I’m editing a film called A Flower of Evil starring Raymond Pettibon and Amy Sedaris for an upcoming show in New York at David Zwirner, for which I am making drawings and sculptures, and I’ve been playing around with the idea of making some large mosaic works. I’ve also been working on music for a soundtrack for the same film. I’m also working on a short animation on the poet Federico Lorca.

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