The Public House of Art is the home to great artists using the medium of collage. Eugenia Loli’s bedazzeling artworks catch your attention and suck you into her self-invented universe of funny, absurd and touching imagery. Using old magazine photos and science fiction pictures, the Greek artist takes images out of their original context and creates digital layers to construct a new narrative. One of the other collage-geniuses in the Public House of Art collection is Barbara van den Berg, who creates stunning digital characters composed out of old photographs. By mixing and matching different body parts, Barbara creates a new visual language that attracts a great deal of attention! Both artists are inventive and unique, yet they know their history and hint to their ancestors who have experimented with the collage technique in the last century. Hop on one of Eugenia’s spaceships and let’s go back in time to the start of collaging...
Collage is a technique in which an artwork is made from an assemblage of different forms, together creating a whole new artwork. The technique is quite old, ancient even, and was already known from about 200 BC in China. But the collage was only considered an actual art form from the beginning of the 20th century. Collages became hot and happening when modernist artists started to throw their paintbrushes in the bin and picked up a pair of scissors to cut and paste their artworks to a whole new level.
The collage technique entails much more than the idea of just gluing something onto something else. The early collages of Picasso and Braque, who glued on patches to their canvases, offered a new perspective on the traditional medium of painting. The collage technique was a way to re-examine the relationship between sculpture and painting. When Picasso created a guitar collage, the visitors to his studio were surprised and wondered what the hell it was. Poet André Salmon asked hesitatingly: “Does that rest on a pedestal? Does that hang on the wall? It is a painting or a sculpture?” Picasso played it cool and answered: “It’s nothing, it’s La Guitare!” This piece of nothing, an amazing artwork actually, did have a huge effect on artists all over the place. They were liberated from the stereotype art mediums and had a green light to let their imaginations run wild. This was a massive breakthrough in art history.
After Picasso and Braque, many artists started experimenting with the endless possibilities of the collage. From the goofy Surrealists, to the edgy Cubists and crazy Dada-artists to the great Pop Art stars, they got all very enthusiastic when layering, unlayering, mixing and rearranging artworks together. And not only was the collage a great way to break the conventions that existed in the mediums of painting and drawing, also in photography the collage became a new and exciting technique. Collages made from photographs, which are called photomontages, combine different pictures to create a new composition and a new context. It’s a bit like photoshopping. But in the pre-computer era.
Image: Pablo Picasso, Guitar (1914). Source: http://www.moma.org/collection/works/80934
One of the first and most famous photomontage artworks is Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing? by pop art genius Richard Hamilton. Hamilton reworked old images to recreate collage in which the American mass culture is over exaggerated with images of pin up girls, handsome bodybuilders and stereotypical consumerist products like canned ham.
Nowadays there are still a lot of artists being inventive and using the digital medium to push beyond just using Control C + Control V to create extremely time-intensive compositions that are playing with the traditional values of arts.
Eugenia and Barbara are definitely two of these artists. They were inspired by The Awesome, using the techniques they learned from their great great great grandfathers and reinventing imagery that relates to our contemporary culture. And you never know, you might be the next true collage artist on the rise yourself… come to the store to mix and match artworks together.
Image: Richard Hamilton, Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing? (1956). Source: http://de.phaidon.com/agenda/art/picture-galleries/2010/march/23/this-is-tomorrow-the-work-of-richard-hamilton/?idx=2&idx=2
Written by Freelance art writer Rosanne Schipper for The Public House of Art