Marcel Dzama

Marcel Dzama, A Midsummer Desire Under Moonlight, 2020

Marcel Dzama's Midsummer Dream

A play is meant to be seen. Where other written texts conjure imagined worlds, plays are written to be on their feet: spoken, intoned, costumed, interpreted, and presented. A new illustrated version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, William Shakespeare’s dreamlike play about love and lust in the royal court and the surrounding forest, with paintings by the contemporary artist Marcel Dzama goes a long way to achieving that kind of lush creative vision with a fresh interpretation of the centuries-old work that is as thoughtful as it is beautiful.

The imagery is thick with feeling. Dzama’s brushstrokes present a natural world that is vibrantly and sometimes unsettlingly alive, blending influences and iconography from Romanticism, Old Hollywood, and the coastal calm of the Côte d’Azur. In total, over two dozen images present a stunning and sometimes menacing vision of Midsummer, highlighting and surfacing the play’s shrouded discourse around gender and class. Through Dzama’s illustrations, we’re able to live in a new dream that bristles with menace and magic.

William Shakespeare x Marcel Dzama: A Midsummer Night's Dream is out now from David Zwirner Books.

Marcel Dzama, 'A Song That Rouses Passions,' 2020

Marcel Dzama, 'A Song That Rouses Passions,' 2020

© Marcel Dzama. All images courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner.

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