AN ODE TO COLLAGE
SHINING A LIGHT ON THE COLLAGE MEDIUM
All roads lead to Collage. At least it often seems that way. Dedicated to the pursuit of the unknown, Collage artists can be argued to be the pillars, or the mentors, of 'Image Creation'. Image Creation uses the language of photography to create something new, something reality does not convey. Image Creation is about discovering and constructing new realities. So is Beyond Photography. So is Collage Without further ado, Beyond Photography would like to express their admiration for the medium and dedicate a week to this enigmatic art form. Beyond Photography would like to present An Ode To Collage.
A throwaway form that began its life in art history as an offshoot of Picasso and Braque’s Cubist explorations, Collage broke the ancient ideal of stylistic unity, and with it the disjunctive mood officially entered the syntax of art: the urge to slash and burn, to rip and tear, to cut and paste pieces into something joltingly different and new, surfaced. Reacting to the impact of the computer and the Internet, photography is in the midst of a historic shift in which the photographic image is no longer synonymous with camerawork. Add to that the computer’s intrinsic aptitude for Collage, for mixing it up digitally, and you have what almost amounts to a coup. The dazzling possibilities of post production have transformed photography from a primarily perceptual to a more deeply creative medium. The Collage aesthetic is not about point and shoot, it is not about the camera, nor about the photographer. It recognizes the multiplicity of form and content, duality, contradiction, juxtaposition, complexity and expansion as the essential qualities of modern life and modern art, and thus epitomizes what Beyond Photography means with the term ‘Image Creation’.
"One of the things I like most about collage as a medium is it's accessibility. I think art is often intimidating and has a high barrier to entry, on both sides of the equation; creating and buying." - Alex Morris
An Ode to Collage will feature the work of ten amazing collage artists, who all equally yet diversely, push the parameters of Image Creation, reality and fantasy. Throughout the week, keep you eyes open and be amazed by the works of: Alex Morris (notes.pictures), Alexei Gural (A.g. collages), Lara Minerva, Stefan Gunnesch, Melanie Garcia, Paul van Trigt, K. Young Artist, Molly Scannell, Laurent Seljan, Paul Cristina, David J. Weissberg and Isabel Reitemeyer.
Coined by cubist artists Braque and Picasso, the term “collage” comes from the French word coller, or “to glue.” The movement itself emerged under this pair of artists, who began working with various mediums to create avant-garde assemblages around 1910. “I've always been drawn to found assemblage” Paul van Trigt, who previously worked in sculpture, explains. “In sculpture, I found assemblage using similar items and themes of natural objects contrasted with industrial starkness. Collage captures similar themes and contrasts to me.”
"Surprising connections spring up frequently, often when you least expect it, and this is what makes Collage so intriguing."
- Alexei Gural
They say good artists copy, great artists ‘steal’. In line with this idea, Alexei Gural (also known as A.g. Collages) believes that “Collage is basically the same to everyone; you try to build something new using the spare parts you got from somewhere else.” Appropriate to recreate, one may say. “Collage that uses photography (in my case, modern magazine photography) is a process, in which one searches for interesting images and then cuts and combines them in unusual ways. It is a medium that relies heavily on composition, but what is built, what it means, is usually left up to chance. Fortunately, surprising connections spring up frequently, often when you least expect it, and this is what makes Collage so intriguing to me,” he continues.
Closer to poetry than to painting, collage at its best offers even the unskilled the possibility to discover the creative, associative properties of their own mind. "I gravitated towards collage almost twenty years ago; an art class solely focused on the medium appealed to me not only for its mixing of textures and surrealist Image-Making possibilities, but also for its accessibility,” Melanie Garcia explains. “Being someone who never excelled at drawing or painting in any traditional sense,Collage gave me a chance to mix photographic imagery with textured materials and smears of paint or pencil”.
"Collage offers different layers of reading and prolongs photography to reveal unconscious fantasies."
- Laurent Seljan
The influence of Freud and the new concept of the subconscious and even irrational nature of man's mind added to the imagery and process of Collage. Laurent Seljan, accordingly, sees (analog) Collage as an association of ideas: “It offers different layers of reading and prolongs photography to reveal unconscious fantasies." Not everything, the artist realized, is preconceived, conscious and predetermined. To Alex Morris’ (also known as Notes.Pictures) art is in the eye of the viewer: “I’m less interested in telling people something than I am getting everyone to feel something of their own. Photography is about capturing a moment that, once captured, conveys something bigger. What I do is in many ways far more crude. I’m pushing the “captured feeling” to the forefront and cutting away everything else”.
Much of creativity is brought forth out of the subconscious and by chance. This new realization found special application in Collage, where the shaping of individual pieces and their placement upon the canvass is less self-conscious, perhaps even playful, than in painting or drawing. “My work is characterised by a conceptual starting point as well as an intuitive approach. I mostly work on different artworks simultaneously and the work process often becomes substance of the subject as well.” Stefan Gunnesch explains, “The visual language in my collages and illustrations is defined by combining different materials, textures and haptical—as well as content-related—layers. The motif of the artwork is build on several layers that can modify the original image to a new abstract version. I work as long as necessary on one collage to reach the point where the materials become a new connection and tell a new story for me.” Many may question Collage and the artistic skill needed to create collages, "There is such a thing as natural ability and the the mindset to execute on an idea- even if its growing in your head as you are making it," Molly Scannell explains. "The ability to find materials, through the use of magazines, other peoples words and visuals, I can to retell these stories in a completely different way. It becomes a new story all on its own." Herein lies the creative power of Collage as a medium and its cutting-edge ability to create Images that reach beyond a single press of the shutter.
"The motif of an artwork is built on several layers that can modify the original image to a new abstract version." - Stefan Gunnesch
Collage, from its very beginning, has been a means to transcend the ordinary and explore ever new possibilities beyond the limitations of any given medium. The artists featured this week form some of the pillars of a ‘medium’ which is ever growing and expanding, whilst ever growing and expanding our view of reality and the possibilities of fantasy, at the same time.