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February 21, 2013
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The Enduring Enigma of Collage

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 8:15 PM















Collage is one of those art forms that immediately sets off heated debate about our most fundamental ideas and visceral feelings about the very essence of art itself.


Turn of the century troublemakers Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso began enhancing their paintings with glued on bits of cut out fabric and other materials, thus neatly blurring the line between the art categories of painting and sculpture. They shifted the emphasis or “meaning” of their painted images beyond an attempted interpretation of the painted “text” to thinking about the artists’ “process” – something wholly separate from the paintings themselves.


And with that a whole new Rubic’s Cube of basic questions about art was opened up:


Is an assemblage of “found” junk really art? Is the artist’s technique in “building” an artwork more important than the artist’s aesthetic skills? Should ideas and feelings evoked in experiencing art come from a “story” or narrative painted on a canvas or are ideas and emotions with perspectives tempered by glued on newspaper clips and photographs just as valid? Is this “sampling” just a form of plagiarism? Is it simply an artist’s shortcut to his vision or expression, and ultimately never really his own best “statement?”








untitled urban collageby gregoriousone




Windsweptby JessicaMDouglas




pionerby igorska










self portrait collageby fantomas1






The Castleby patbremer










Kissed By a Birdby LauraTringaliHolmes




ATC: LoVe BiRdby abstractjet





Outwardby patbremer




Restlessby babsdraws





Leave it to the truly great artists and creative thinkers to leave more questions in their wake than answers. That the creation and interpretation of any artwork is a mad kaleidoscopic endeavor shouldn’t bother us so much a century after Picasso’s transgressions especially in a time of string theory and serious consideration of parallel universes. In fact, any evening spent in front of your end point of choice easily illustrates the triumph of the collage “idea” – as commercial after commercial batters us with seemingly disassociated sounds and images that somehow come together to push a singular perspective: like and want this product... because it is part of a desirable but unobtainable lifestyle implicit in the commercial’s collage of images.


But what of collage as a purely aesthetic artform? It seems the surrealists immediately following Picasso embraced collage, especially because it so nicely served in the presentation of political and anti-war messages, with the grim reality of war in photographs juxtaposed with the artists’s painted pleas for peace. Collage has never really gone out of style, as it seems to be that idea with a little added something that artists, like Warhol in the sixties, rediscover over and over to reinvigorate their messages. One particularly popular school of “wood collage” has endured, in which the artist glues wood cuttings or panels to painted canvases, again creating a painting+sculpture effect. Some artists use natural found driftwood to enhance their paintings, igniting again the “but is it art?” question. By now most of that conversation has died down into a truce:


Any artist’s expression is art. And art is in the eye of the beholder. Period.












Queen Of Black Words Blindfoldedby ArianeJurquet






Bird 3 -- Diveby LauraTringaliHolmes






carmageddonby live-by-evil






sumo surfingby almcdermid






Traditional american familyby Drogul-le-Mogul






Crosswalk on Manhattanby rpintor






Dannyby patbremer








Collage seems to have won a place in our collective hearts as an artform that “anyone can do.” We start cutting and gluing pictures in Kindergarten to add to our crayon creations and many happy homes have photo collages of smiling famiy members hanging on their walls. Whatever comment the serious artists are making about “process” or political activists are making about world peace is now wrapped warmly in the same artistic space as our baby photo collections.


“Digital Art” is the latest artform in search of a theory by the academics. But its commercial application as CGI is transforming the look of the imaginary worlds in films and video games and no doubt doing much, for better or worse, to imprint those (usually dystopic) landscapes in our sub-consciences.


Personally I love collage as an artform.








You Obviously Lack Originalityby Chickenman74778






Perfect Strangerby wicked-vlad








Questions For the Reader


  1. Is collage even relevant as a technique in the face of digital tools that instantly paste content into almost every image we see?

  2. What is your first reaction to the “is ‘found’ art really art?” question?

  3. Does the experience of the “meaning,” or at least your perception of a painting, being changed to a new perspective by added materials engage your mind in a positive way, or make you feel like what’s the point? Does too much relativity kill your soul?

  4. How would you feel if some of the plates fell off your very expensive Julian Schnabel “painting?” Would you first wonder if re-gluing them made the work somehow altered or bogus?  Would you wonder first about insurance or resale value?

  5. Do you have personal collages of friends and family? Did the placement of individuals’ pictures within the collage have any particular significance?








Collage is one of those art forms that immediately sets off heated debate about our most fundamental ideas and visceral feelings about the very essence of art itself. Turn of the century troublemakers Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso began enhancing their paintings with glued on bits of cut out fabric and other materials, thus neatly blurring the line between the art categories of painting and sculpture. They shifted the emphasis or "meaning" of their painted images beyond an attempted interpretation of the painted "text" to thinking about the artists' "process" – something wholly separate from the paintings themselves.

Writers: $techgnotic
Designers: $marioluevanos
Add a Comment:
 
:iconhamadahelsaudi:
hamadahelsaudi Apr 1, 2013  Student Interface Designer
WOOOW
Reply
:iconscarllettrulez:
ScarllettRuleZ Apr 1, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
What is your first reaction to the “is ‘found’ art really art?” question?

If I can't understand what the artist is trying to convey, or get the feeling like the artist put time and effort into the collage, then I deem it garbage.

With collages you really have to see what the connections are with the images and materials being used. It's pretty much like a puzzle.

And I'm very wrong for doing this, or probably very lazy, but if I cant figure out the connection, I'll assume the person just threw some things together in an old shed somewhere and announced ' THIS IS ART!' to no one in particular.
Reply
:iconblood-red-cure:
Blood-Red-Cure Mar 30, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
2) You don't find art, art finds you and you hang it up for the world to see.
Reply
:iconhansmar:
Hansmar Mar 27, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
1. sure
2. Whether found art is art depends on whether there is art involved. Just placing two items together on pedestal is not necessarily art. However, making an interesting sculpture, collage, still life that warrants a second and third and more looks: that is art.
3. Added material in painting can be very useful to increase the level of interest. But, like for any other type of work, it depends on how it is used and whether it really makes a difference.
4. I would never own a very expensive 'painting'. I think if Schnabel has glued it on, I can glue it on too. Think about the Barnett Newman painting being repaired by rolling instead of brushing. At first even the people from the museum did not notice!
5. No
Reply
:icongoodnightnovembereve:
GoodnightNovemberEve Mar 27, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
1. Yes.

2. I love it. In school, I had assignments where we were asked to create Found poems, art, etc. I'm not good at drawing, but I have tons of cut-outs, and have made collages for myself.

3. It engages my mind.

4.
a. I would re-glue them if it made the painting look bad, but would not re-glue them if it gave the painting more character (but would save the pieces).
b. Not sure.
c. Neither. I don't sell the things I love.

5. No. I make colleges out of magazine clippings.

Are we allowed to post collages now? I have a few I've been waiting years to post, but when I asked back then, they pretty much told me that no I can't post them. I'm not much of an artist otherwise, and I stopped producing art, but would start again if they opened this up.
Reply
:iconserafina-rose:
serafina-rose Mar 27, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Brilliant and so well written! I love collage and it's another form of expressing yourself artistically! Thank you!
:iconredsparklesplz::iconredroseplz::iconredsparklesplz:
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:iconrobinthebear:
It depends greatly on what "Existing" media actually means. YOU use anything I ever did and there might be lawsuits. Everything I post on this website is already owned by the commission that ordered it. MOST is corporate-owned..the rest privately. I akin this to something called "Sampling" in the music genre'......and personally..I dont approve of it at all.. I can only ok this sort of thing when the "Existing Media" doesn't infringe on copy written media.
Reply
:icon42572050:
42572050 Mar 26, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Me encantan!!4
deviantART muro drawing Comment Drawing
Reply
:iconashimbabbar:
Collage is a legitimate art style.
As a rule, I don't like it.
Reply
:iconaliceswonder:
AlicesWonder Mar 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Collage is a legitimate art style. I've spent days working on one collage. I don't just throw junk together and see what sticks. I take a lot of time trying to get a balance of color and style with many tiny pieces sometimes. Or I combine original art with more complex patterns I did not create. I think the legal problems concerning collage should have been discussed in the blog, and I hope you will do a follow up on that.
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