Wednesday, July 05, 2017

habitude uncolourable superheterodyne

Collage is the twentieth century's greatest innovation. 

OK, so some folks don't quite agree.
Today I want to take some time to talk about collage.  I am teaching a short class in collage next week and this will serve as my way of gathering my thoughts.  The class is Fiber Collage and IMHO that pretty much means it's anything you want it to be, any materials, any construction, any plan.

But lets start at the beginning of collage:

Collage describes both the technique and the resulting work of art in which pieces of paper, photographs, fabric and other ephemera are arranged and stuck down onto a supporting surface.

To get the terms straight:  Collage derives from the French term papiers collés (or découpage), used to describe techniques of pasting paper cut-outs onto various surfaces. It was first used as an artists’ technique in the early twentieth century.

Collage can also include other media such as painting and drawing, as well as  contain three-dimensional elements.
A montage is an assembly of images that relate to each other in some way to create a single work or part of a work of art
A montage is more formal than a collage and is usually based on a theme. It is also used to describe experimentation in photography and film, in particular the works of Man Ray and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy who made a series of short movies and photographic montages in the 1930s.

A photomontage is a collage constructed from photographs
 Photomontage is often used as a means of expressing political dissent.
It was first used as a technique by the dadaists in 1915 in their protests against the First World War. It was later adopted by the surrealists who exploited the possibilities photomontage offered by using free association to bring together widely disparate images, to reflect the workings of the unconscious mind.
Mixed media is a term used to describe artworks composed from a combination of different media or materials . The use of mixed media began around 1912 with the cubist collages and constructions of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, and has become widespread as artists developed increasingly open attitudes to the media of art. 
Essentially art can be made of anything or any combination of things.
What is the difference between mixed media and multi-media artworks? While both terms describe artworks that are made using a range of materials, multi-media is generally used to define an artwork that uses or includes a combination of electronic media, such as video, film, audio and computers.
Collage allows the opening up of conscious, which is very direct…it's also a way of looking at what you are consuming all the time – John Stezak

CUBISM, the background 
Cubism was a revolutionary new approach to representing
reality invented by artists Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque within a very short timeframe. They brought different views of subjects, usually objects or figures, together in the same picture, resulting in paintings that appear fragmented and abstracted.  
Cubism was one of the most influential styles of the twentieth century, generally believed to have started with Picasso's painting, 

which included elements of Cubist style.  The name seems to have derived from a comment made by a critic who described the work as reducing everything to geometric outlines, to 'cubes'.

Cubism opened up almost infinite new possibilities for the treatment of visual reality in art and was the starting point for many later abstract styles including constructivism and neo-plasticism
By breaking objects and figures down into distinct areas – or planes – the artists aimed to show different viewpoints at the same time and within the same space and so suggest their three dimensional form. In doing so they also emphasized the two-dimensional flatness of the canvas instead of creating the illusion of depth. This marked a revolutionary break with the European tradition of creating the illusion of real space from a fixed viewpoint using devices such as linear perspective, which had dominated representation from the Renaissance onwards.

To back up a bit, some Cubism influences:
Cubism was partly influenced by Paul Cezanne in which he painted scenes from slightly different angles or points of view.  Picasso was also newly interested in African tribal masks which are highly stylized, not naturalistic, yet presenting a strong human image

Braque and Picasso worked closely together, at one time even sharing a studio.  The close and competitive working relationship between Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque in the radical, game-changing development of Cubist painting is a standard story in the history of Modern art. Braque, conjuring a bit of mountaineer melodrama, said, "We were like climbing partners roped together." Picasso, employing more than a hint of sexist condescension, said that during the most intense period of give-and-take growth, Braque worked as if he were Picasso's "wife."  Their work, in some cases, was indistinguishable from each other.
 ‘A head’, said Picasso, ‘is a matter of eyes, nose, mouth, which can be distributed in any way you like’.
At some point during 1911, Picasso and Braque became less concerned with painting as a description of multiple viewpoints or as a collection of shattered viewpoints—depending on how you interpret Analytical Cubism—but instead in a new kind of pictorial construction and a new kind of art-making. This kind of creating resulted in what were considered more “legible” cubist images. This new legibility and the idea that these new images were constructed rather than subjected to analysis (built-up rather than broken-down or apart), is why this period was dubbed “synthetic,” meaning a synthesis, or a collection of disparate elements into a coherent whole. Central to the ability of these works to build up elements was the invention of collage.
Collage was an extraordinary break with the past. Even though artists previous to Picasso and Braque had represented (i.e. painted, drawn, etc.) mass culture in their works, and even though artists in both art and popular culture previous to Picasso and Braque had occasionally used the method of collage, Picasso and Braque were the first well-recognized artists to do it intentionally and towards the purposes of artistic innovation. Collage (like Cubism itself) was hugely influential. After word of Picasso and Braque’s new technique spread, just as with the birth of Cubism, a virtual torrent of artists (other Cubists, but also FuturistsDadaists, and others) started working with collage. Importantly, Picasso and Braque should also be seen as the first artists to make mixed-media works (i.e. works made out of more than one medium)—a term we use very often today. As well, they were the first artists to put into question whether art could consist of pre-made materials (foreshadowing the work of Marcel Duchamp), and finally, collage questioned the separation between art and life—ideas so many artists of the 20th century—such as Duchamp, but also the Dadaists and Neo-Dada artists like Robert Rauschenberg—would take up subsequently. 
Picasso’s Still Life with Chair Caning was arguably one of the first collage works by Picasso and Braque, and definitely the most developed. So what are we looking at? First off, the work is a small painted assemblage of the letters “JOU,” and—according to various art historians—there is also a pipe, a glass, a knife, a lemon and a scallop shell in the picture. These objects are augmented by the insertion of a strip of oilcloth onto the canvas (at the bottom left) that was an imitation—i.e. fake—strip of chair-caning. (Oilcloth is basically what contact paper used to be called. One might use it today to line drawers. It was bought in a department store.) While the oilcloth alone signals that this is a revolutionary type of work, what would be called a collage or papier-collé, there is also another piece of material from the real world, a rope, which acts as a frame for the work.
Calling this just the first collage ignores some of this work’s magic. Most of the Still Life’s power lies in its interest—through the addition of a piece of man-made material—in playing with the difference between art and illusion, which was a major theme of Synthetic Cubism. (JOU does mean game in French.)
How does one see this play? On one hand, this can be seen as a work of two-dimensional art, in a rope frame; of certain objects; brought together and seen from various angles. Yet on the other hand, the insertion of an actual piece of oilcloth that looks like chair caning—which would be used to cover chairs in cafés of the time—makes this image feel like an actual circular table that one might look through, from above (making it appear an oval), so that a chair could be seen below the glass table and the objects sit on top of a table. Accordingly, you then become part of the scene, a customer sitting at a café table, reading your newspaper (JOU then stands in for Le Journal, the most popular newspaper in France at the time) and having breakfast. There’s even more play in the image if you keep thinking about it. Though Picasso could have used real chair-caning in this work, the one he chooses (and buys) is actually fake. This simultaneously deflates the illusion Picasso is trying to create just as he is making it occur. 

Over just a short time, Cubism divided into other movements, the chief being Dada, as social conscious entered their art
These artists felt the war called into question every aspect of a society capable of starting and then prolonging it – including its art. Their aim was to destroy traditional values in art and to create a new art to replace the old. Leading artists associated with it include Arp, Marcel DuchampFrancis Picabia and Kurt Schwitters. Duchamp’s questioning of the fundamentals of Western art had a profound subsequent influence.  
Rejected by the Cubists as too Futurist, a 1912 painting by Marcel Duchamp, 'Nude Descending a Staircase'. is now regarded as a Modernist classic and has become one of the most famous of its time.  But it's roots in Cubism are very obvious.
Yet the work was exhibited with the same Dada artists at Galeries J. Dalmau, Exposició d'Art Cubista, in Barcelona, 20 April–10 May 1912, and subsequently caused a huge stir during its exhibition at the 1913 Armory Show in New York.
NeoDada:  In 1919 artist Kurt Schwitters coined his own term of Merz to define his work that used found objects and everyday materials, stating: ‘new art forms out of the remains of a former culture’. In Opened by Customs Schwitters mingles pieces of wrapping paper and fragments of newspapers with pieces of rubbish. Curator Karin Orchard in her exhibition catalogue essay wrote of Schwitters’s Merz:Following his experiences in the First World War, Schwitters decided to create something new from the rubble of the old world and henceforth concentrated on collages: ‘You can also shout with items from rubbish heaps, and that is what I did, by pasting and nailing them together’… In the hands of Schwitters, Hannah HochGeorge GroszJohn Heartfield and the other dadaists disparate materials from all sorts of sources retain their own identity and are combined to create an entirely new self-sufficient composition. Collage and montage became groundbreaking, structural concepts in modernism.

The first quality that is needed is audacity. (Winston Churchill)
And, there ya go.  
No ART PART today, this whole thing should suffice! 
Tomorrow I will get into the collage class.

much of this information was right off the internet, only meant to be a short history of the way Cubism developed and Collage became an accepted art form.  At some point I will go back and site sources. If you are offended by any particular part for copyright reasons, contact me immediately and I will remove and replace the information.  Thanks!  

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