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tout-faire-pour-que-ca-colle - ARTACTIF
April 2024 | Reading time: 22 Min | 0 Comment(s)

On the occasion of the publication of the works “The Art of Feminine Collage”, published by Gallimard, and “Vitamin C+ - Collage in Contemporary Art” published by Phaïdon.

Myself, who has no work of art to sell, who only visits art galleries for the pleasure of the eyes and to always be able to talk to you better about artists and the art market, I love make collages... I have never been able to resist the desire to cut out the expressive images that call to me throughout the pages of a magazine, whether it is devoted to contemporary art, creative hobbies, or life in a van, whether it is a simple brochure from the local tourist office or a sales catalog for hyper-colorful clothing from a Swedish brand that I particularly like, and whose catalogs I enjoy receiving paper in my mailbox. I collect pretty boxes filled with silhouettes, flowers and patterns of all kinds, which I always keep on hand in case a furious desire to collage overwhelms me. I cut more than I paste, when you think about it. Enjoying myself very sporadically, like a moment as rare as it is precious, in composing dreamlike atmospheres with my little cutouts, and then completing them with drawn shapes then springing from my imagination as if by magic. It feels really good! In fact, I sometimes even simply tear them up, to give an extra effect to my travel journals. In which I go so far as to stick bags of brewed tea, as if they were going to recount everything that was said around the steaming cups.

I used to be less daring to indulge in cut-out patterns, because the young mother that I was then only chose what could be used to embellish the albums that she happily made with the countless silver photographs brought back from her family vacations, to enhance the memories of his children. There's nothing like sticking a funny hat on the head of a hiking guide who made us all sweat, to transform the exhausting epic into a hilarious reminiscence. But enough of the joke. I'm not here to talk to you about scrapbooking, although I would be delighted if I could give you some ideas, but about modern and contemporary art. Because if we are to believe Judicaël Lavrador, author of a fascinating article devoted to the art of collage in the February Beaux Arts Magazine, the first to practice it were Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso, at the beginning of the 20th century, Juan Gray, however, is not to be outdone.

As the journalist specifies in the preamble, we are faced with “an art with a vague definition, whose images and elements, once juxtaposed, reveal another story, deliver another discourse. » She therefore offers us a “look at today’s creation”. Starting with the non-exhaustive list of all the materials, objects or images that ended up on a board. And that I bring to you here, always in the event of giving you ideas. “String, cardboard, newspaper pages, wire, chicken wire, bus tickets, wood, photos of stars cut out from magazines, pieces of fabric, plates, photocopies , painted canvases or screen prints... The material is within reach of the gluer - the feminine being essential since the Art of Feminine Collage has just been published and the reference work, Vitamin C+, opportunely gives women artists a large place in this panorama of contemporary creation,” writes the journalist. I would like to know in passing what the differences are between feminine collage and masculine collage, but this article is obviously not written for that since I found no answer to this question.

However, we will learn with interest that since the pioneering era of the art of collage, “from the Dadaists to the conceptualists, including pop art, collage has remained a favorite of artists”. The notion of a “fad” however carries with it more the idea of a mania, of a nice obsessive passion, than of an artistic creation, it is easy to imagine that its definition has never achieved consensus. As Judicaël Lavrador writes, “is it a simple technique (or rather a panel of techniques)? An art in itself, just like painting? Or a strategy that aims to bring together, bring together, place disparate elements on the same level? Therefore, a sculpture like Brandt/Haffner (1949) by Bertrand Lavier (a fridge placed on a safe) would fall into this category. Because after all, not only does collage catch everything, but it invites itself everywhere. On a painting certainly, but also on a sculpture, even on the walls of an exhibition space and even in music or a film, finding new vigor in digital tools. Flexible and agile, collage sneaks into other practices, shaking them up a little. Without overturning the tables either, he often creates a slight disorder, thereby disrupting the usual representations of reality, the world and beings. »

This is what we like about collage. The side step that it allows us to take. Whether you are an artist, an art lover... or a dilettante in travel diary and photo album mode. Collage disrupts representations. He shifts. It increases. So to try to understand a little "the contours, the plastic and conceptual resources of this strange animal" which has invaded the field of the contemporary art market, the journalist from Beaux Arts Magazine attached itself to some more solid artistic genres : the portrait, the landscape, the still life and the representation of history, “even if it appears that the collages of contemporary creators happily mix them”. Starting with John Stezaker, who pastes postcards of picturesque landscapes onto photographs of movie stars from the 1940s and 1950s. Having the art of bringing together and separating at the same time, collage can, for example, criticize the reign of consumption and objectified bodies, in the style of Linder, this British artist who composes photomontages from human and material objects of desire. Collage therefore also makes it possible to disturb the uniformity of bodies, the stability of identity: the American Deborah Roberts takes advantage of this to create characters steeped in the vicissitudes of the history of African-Americans and heroic figures who have started the fight for civil rights.

As for the works of art for sale by Tschabalala Self, populated by black women articulated like fairground puppets, or by Kader Attia, not hesitating to bring together grimacing and hairy African masks with broken faces, they also draw in the collage all the energy of making visible what is not, of shining the spotlight on those who remain in the shadows. But collage also makes it possible to reverse the representation of time and history, as demonstrated by the Italian Simon Moretti, who was able to graft an advertisement for luxury watches and sudoku puzzles under the reproduction of an Egyptian sculpture topped with 'a 19th century clock mechanism. The pages of the Beaux Arts Magazine article are also illustrated with works of art by Aline Helmcke, Julien Pacaud, Caro Mantke, Thomas Hirschborn, Isabel Chiara, all composing sketches playing on any credibility and not hesitating to switch blithely into the monstrous or the grotesque. And then, in the digital age, there are many artists proving that “copy and paste” has become a natural extension of our ways of acting. So to create too. You only have to see the work of Camille Henrot, questioning what we can really know when all knowledge is at hand... to wonder if collage is not there to help humans to understand themselves. one day put your head back together...



Valibri en Roulotte

Article written by Valibri in Roulotte

Illustration: The art of female collage - Rebeka Elizegi
Gallimard, Alternatives, 2023

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