The Royal Art Lodge

The Royal Art Lodge, Garbage Day, 2008. Photograph by Adatabase

The Royal Art Lodge, Garbage Day (installation view), 2008. Photograph by Adatabase

The Royal Art Lodge, Garbage Day, 2008. Photograph by Adatabase

Initiated in 1996 by six undergraduates at the University of Manitoba, Canada, The Royal Art Lodge turned heads early in its career for producing playfully eccentric collaborative drawings and paintings, where one artist began and then passed the work along to another, and so on.

Their quirky and surreal imagery often alludes to day-dreams or snippets of fantasy, sometimes 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. For 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 installation for MADE UP entitled, Garbage Day (2008), The Royal Art Lodge continued this approach presenting a series of 300 modest panels that formed an epic frieze of painting, drawing and collage. Panels were characterised by bright colours, simple compositions and the use of a candid child-like line. Within the overall collection, smaller separate stories emerged and populated the walls like key chapters or themes. 100 Years of Dying featured tombstone markers for selected famous historical and cultural figures, suggesting a wealth of biographical stories to be told, remembered and archived. Similarly, Alphabet Code suggested new ways to organise or communicate information, as different facial types were assigned to letters. 

In between these smaller narrative groupings stood eccentric single panels that baffled and intrigued, like a collection of unconnected one-liners: Raised by rats portrayed a cat being held aloft by two tiny strong rodents; Wood nymph featured a woman in white bra and panties frolicking in an empty landscape; Head depicted a young female cradling the blue and bloodied face of a cadaver. Reflecting the sheen volume and diversity of The Royal Art Lodge’s imagined characters and realms, Garbage Day highlighted the continuing prolific output of this engaging group of artists. 

The Royal Art Lodge is made up of artists Michael Dumontier (b.1974, Winnipeg) Marcel Dzama (b.1974, Winnipeg) and Neil Farber (b.1975, Winnipe).

The Royal Art Lodge at Liverpool Biennial 2008

Garbage Day (detail)
, 2008
Mixed media on hardboard.
Commissioned by Liverpool Biennial 2008
Exhibited at the Bluecoat

Supported by

Canada House Arts Trust
Houldesworth Gallery