David Zwirner is pleased to present Let us compare mythologies, an exhibition of collaborative works by Marcel Dzama and Raymond Pettibon, two artists who have both been represented by the gallery since the mid-1990s. On view at THE UPPER ROOM at the gallery’s London location, this presentation follows their show earlier this year, titled Forgetting the Hand, at David Zwirner, New York.
Dzama and Pettibon’s collaboration began in the summer of 2015 with the artists swapping the first of a series of drawings to be completed by the other. In a variation of the “exquisite corpse” method––wherein a partner is only given portions of an otherwise concealed drawing to work on––they developed each other’s compositions through improvisational illustration, collage, and writing. Following in the playful model of the Surrealists, who used this collaborative technique in the early twentieth century, the drawings on view combine the two artists’ distinct styles in a revealing and seamless manner. In several works, it is nearly impossible to determine who made what, which indicates how both strove to assimilate the other’s vision or anticipate his response.
As a continuation of the artists’ collaboration, this exhibition includes drawings originally made for the zine published by David Zwirner Books to coincide with Printed Matter’s New York Art Book Fair at MoMA PS1 (September 2015), works produced jointly for the show in New York, as well as new compositions made together for the presentation in London. Also on view will be a mural-sized work on paper, It is big big business (or We s’port…and necessitate one another, thought to brush, word to image hand in hand…for the greatest interest…of writing thou art), featuring Pettibon’s depictions of surfers engulfed in enormous waves intertwined with Dzama’s illustrations of costumed characters.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a new limited edition zine published by David Zwirner Books, marking the artists’ third collaborative publication to date. The original sold-out zine from 2015 was reprinted in 2016 as a revised and expanded edition on the occasion of Forgetting the Hand. Artist books form a significant part of both artists’ practices, and Pettibon, in particular, has been making his own zines since the late 1970s.
Marcel Dzama was born in 1974 in Winnipeg, Canada, where he received his B.F.A. in 1997 from the University of Manitoba. Since 1998, his work has been represented by David Zwirner, and he has exhibited widely both in the United States and internationally. The New York City Ballet’s The Most Incredible Thing, a performance based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale for which Dzama created the costume and stage design (choreographed by Justin Peck; music by Bryce Dessner), premiered in February 2016. In 2010, a major survey of the artist’s work was presented at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. Other recent solo exhibitions include the World Chess Hall of Fame and Museum in St. Louis (2015); Kunstmuseum Thun, Switzerland (2014); Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, Spain; Museo de Arte de Zapopan (MAZ), Zapopan, Mexico (both 2012); Gemeentemuseum, The Hague; Kunstverein Braunschweig, Germany (both 2011); Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich (2008); Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, England (2006); and Le Magasin – Centre National d’Art Contemporain de Grenoble, France (2005). Dzama’s work is held in museum collections worldwide, including the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Dallas Museum of Art; Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate Gallery, London; and the Vancouver Art Gallery.
Born in 1957 in Tucson, Arizona, and now based in New York, Raymond Pettibon graduated with a degree in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1977. Around the same time, he joined his brother in the punk band Black Flag and contributed artwork for their album covers, flyers, and t-shirts, as well as for their label, SST Records. His work has been exhibited widely throughout the United States and abroad. In November 2016, the Museum der Moderne Salzburg will host Homo Americanus, a major museum survey, which is accompanied by a comprehensive publication by David Zwirner Books created in close collaboration with Pettibon. The show was first on view at the Deichtorhallen Hamburg – Sammlung Falckenberg in Hamburg. Other recent venues including the Kunstmuseum Luzern, Lucerne, Switzerland (2012); Kestnergesellschaft, Hanover (2007); Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, Spain (both 2006); Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla, California; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (both 2005). In 1998, his first American museum presentation was organized by The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago in collaboration with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and traveled to The Drawing Center, New York and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Pettibon’s work is held in the permanent collections of the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Tate Gallery, London; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; among others.