(above: Luca Mainini)
On hearing the word collage, a certain nostalgic sentimentality is given off, and we imagine scissors, magazine clippings and old glue. Now it is summed up by digital editing programs. Endless image banks and inspiring new artists offering all kinds of designs, seeking to achieve the perfect image by merging all options offered by the digital realm, using manual techniques. Understanding a collage as an art form of contemporary expression, and observing its evolution between manual and digital, today we wholeheartedly take on this fascinating and vast world, with a first glance.
(above: John Steazaker)
(above: Red Hot Collage)
Collage is about taking ideas and images, and mixing them to get something completely new. It’s a technique that joins graphical languages of different natures. A completely open and free language, which lacks rules and is often linked to everyday life. Today, it is an art form of contemporary expression where a number of emerging artists, fully immersed in the digital age, reclaim it while maintaining their status, and develop it through social networks. As is the case of Redhotcollage, Guillaume Chiron, Jati Putra, Luca Mainini, or the Catalonian Gabriel Russo. (above: Gabriel Russo)
Although its origins date back to the invention of paper in China, later adopted by calligraphers in Japan, it was not until the early twentieth century when it managed to rise up to the category of artistic technique, thanks to Cubist painters such as Braque or Picasso using it in their work (among others who, in fact, disputed their ‘invention’). These artists discovered that collage contained the expressive possibilities of the graphic imagery of everyday life, thus overcoming the obsolete and noble materials of the Fine Arts. Later, it would be taken on and used by Futurists, Dadaists, exponents of pop art, and even avant-garde and post-modern art.
(above: Man Ray)
(above: Guillaume Chiron)
One hundred years have passed since then, and today the use of collage has expanded across different disciplines. It is used in art, graphic and editorial design, fashion and marketing. The success of this technique is owed to more than just a simple procedure of cutting and pasting to create new images. Collage as an artistic concept allowing different layers of meaning and references to be affixed onto the same design. This means that it’s not just limited to graphic work; it’s also used with written material such as literature, influencing music and dance.
(above: Hannah Höch)
(above: Jati Putra)
Above showcases a selection of images from the early century to today, illustrating this evolution and which provide proof of the artistic importance of this special form of expression. A journey of Man Ray to Julia Geiser, through to Hannah Höch and John Steazaker.