by Marcel Dzama
Ink and watercolor on paper
I’ve been completely transfixed by this work by Marcel Dzama. It drew me in with its simplistic design, which appeals to my love of vintage illustration and balanced compositions. Truthfully though, what I really like is the somewhat morbid subject matter: the headless woman who seems to have her choice of 17 heads with a variety of hairstyles and facial expressions.
Struggling to explain myself (and desperate to delegate today’s post to someone else in any way possible), I decided to consult my friend Tim by sending him the link and asking him why I would like it. He immediately said, “Because it’s like Princess Mombi from Return to Oz” - as if this is a perfectly acceptable reason to like something. The reference was lost on me, as that movie terrified me as a child and I haven’t seen it since. Turns out, it works.
Apparently Mombi (a dark-haired, deranged, and evil middle-aged sorceress) made a deal with the Nome King: if she trapped Princess Ozma in her enchanted mirror, he would make her a princess and give her thirty beautiful heads which she could switch depending on her mood.
I’m not sure if this is what Dzama intended when creating this work, and I am not any closer to figuring out why exactly I like it. But no matter. I don’t think you need a reason to like a work of art, and that is my final answer. -JENN