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As a continuation of the artists’ collaboration, this exhibition includes drawings originally made for the zine published by David Zwirner Books to coincide with Printed Matter’s New York Art Book Fair at MoMA PS1 (September 2015), works produced jointly for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.