Chess With Marcel D.


Marcel Dzama, 'The Circus is in Town, 2012. Courtesy of Sies + Höke.
Marcel Dzama,
‘The Circus is in Town, 2012. Courtesy of Sies + Höke.

So, here I am recuperating from yet another sporting mishap, unable to do anything but play chess with my laptop. It’s not going well. So, into the Deep Blue digital ether I dive (see what I did there, chess nerds?) searching for inspiration/distraction when I come across the video work of one of my (many) fave artists, Marcel Dzama.

The Canadian-born New York-based artist has produced a body of distinctive drawings and watercolours, sculptures, dioramas, as well as music videos and short films in which he repeatedly reproduces his motifs of lycra onesie-clad dancers, puppets and masks. Like his inspiration and namesake, Marcel Duchamp, Marcel Dzama shares an interest in chess which is clearly also the subject of his 2011 short 14 minute film, ‘A Game of Chess’. In it balletic Kings, Queens, Rooks and pawns duel for supremacy across a checkered chessboard in a surreal production brought to life with choreographed dance, costume, and a dramatic score.

A mash-up of influences from Dada and surrealism, film noir, and Bauhaus artist Oskar Schlemmer‘s ‘Triadisches Ballett’, the film uses chess as an allegory for war in which the horrors of violence and death, and subjection to tyranny, are played out.

Enjoy some Friday chess-inspired procrastination!

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