Leo Koenig Inc. Projekte is pleased to announce the opening of a solo exhibition by Chicago artist, Dzine, entitled Voodoo. The exhibition includes a video installation, sculptural drawing, photographs and a unique custom bicycle sculpture.
Sifting through the rituals of faith, youth culture, folklore, and urban style, Dzine has created works that contextualizes these diverse elements into a vernacular of contemporary aesthetics. Each piece is inspired by, and partially produced on, the Dutch Island of Curacao during Dzine’s residency at the Instituto Bena Bista, the Curacao Center for Contemporary Art. The presentation utilizes a number of mediums to capture the spirit of Szwaybar, a phenomenon that is unique to the youth of Curacao, and never previously documented or viewed outside the Island. The Szwaybar bicycle comes from the Szway motorbike, these are motorbikes that are altered to extend into oddly shaped driving crafts. Since the youth cannot afford them, they simply try to copy the technique with a bicycle by memory. Some of the bicycles are used as their only means of transportation. However, recently, the youth who produce these custom bicycles use these creations as symbols of style, status and showmanship.
By entitling the show Voodoo, Dzine evokes a tradition that encourages rituals and songs to maintain the relationship between the spirits and the community as a whole. Voodoo shares many similarities with other faiths of the African Diaspora and practitioners mediate between humans and spirits through divination and trance. They can also perform rituals to appease spirits or ancestors or to repel magic. In this exhibition, the artist incorporates talisman-sculpture, which conflates ideas of religious pomp with those of pop art. The bicycle work for instance, can be seen as an offering poised on an altar while being a precisely fabricated work of contemporary sculpture. Standing on a mirrored pedestal, the sculpture appears as a bridge between various worlds, contemporary and ancient, high and low, sacred and secular, accidental and intentional.
Through the photographs and video works, Dzine captures both the raw landscape of Curacao and the mercurial spirit of the male youths that are shaped by that very landscape. The photographs, though meant to be documentary, are far from off-handed. The boys appear at times, pensive, thoughtful, or cocky. In short, the photographs reveal universal aspects of male bonding, competition and showmanship, while also hinting at the isolation of living on an island paradise. The images are at once melancholic and exuberant, and poised somewhere between celebration and regret.
Dzine has exhibited extensively, both in the U.S. and internationally. Recent solo exhibitions include the Flint Institute of Arts, Michigan, the Bass Museum of Art, Miami, and the Museum Het Domein, Sittard, Netherlands. His work has also recently been included in Living in Evolution, the Busan Biennale, and Viva La Revolucion: A Dialogue with the Urban Landscape, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Dzine lives and works in Chicago.