The Royal Art Lodge

The Royal Art Lodge
(Michael Dumontier, Marcel Dzama, Neil Farber)

represented by Pippy Houldsworth

Created in 1996 by six undergraduates at the University of Manitoba, Canada, The Royal Art Lodge, led by Marcel Dzama, turned heads early in its career for producing playfully eccentric collaborative drawings, where one artist begins a drawing and then passes the work along to another, and so on. Completed drawings were date stamped, and then in a process of self-critique, were archived in a series of suitcases ranging in importance from ‘best drawings’ to ‘those to be discarded’.

The quirky and surreal imagery of The Royal Art Lodge often alludes to daydreams or snippets of fantasy, with text which appears to provide narrative clues or ironic truths. Members share a great diversity of interests, including Fluxus, children’s art, comic strips and science fiction, and they appear committed to a shared vision, albeit one that accounts for individual tastes.

Within all their work there is a democratic anonymity. No one artist of the group holds the floor; the message is collective whether in collaboration on drawing, painting, videos, music, puppets, props or costumes.

In their new installation, Garbage Day, The Royal Art Lodge continues this approach presenting a series of over 200 modest panels that form an epic frieze of painting, drawing and collage. Panels are characterised by bright colours, simple compositions and the use of a candid child-like line. Within the overall collection, smaller separate stories emerge and populate the walls like key chapters or themes. 100 Years of Dying features tombstone markers for selected famous historical and cultural figures, one for each year between 1908 and 2008, suggesting a wealth of biographical stories to be told, remembered and archived. Similarly 100 Years of Reading required researching publishing dates, making lists and consistent editing.  If an author were represented in this section, they would be exempt from inclusion in the previous one.