The Futurists and the Dadaists employed collage to protest entrenched values, while the artists of the Russian avant-garde used photomontage, an outgrowth of collage, to demonstrate their support for a progressive world order. For the Surrealists, collage served as a surrogate for the subconscious. Pop artists recognized it as a means of directly incorporating elements of popular culture into their work. Robert Rauschenberg expanded collage in his own way by creating Combines, assemblages of paintings and found objects that were intended, he said, to act in the gap between art and life.
Emphasizing concept and process over end product, collage has brought the incongruous into meaningful congress with the ordinary. With its capacity for change, speed, immediacy, and ephemerality, collage is ideally suited to the demands of this and the prior century. It is a medium of materiality, a record of our civilization, a document of the timely and the transitory. It is no wonder that today’s artists continue to use collage as a way of giving expression to the unorthodox, both in art and life.
Each of these… projects recurrent themes of sexuality, anti-clericalism and violence, by dislocating the visual significance of the source material to suggest what has been repressed.
PREVIEW: Digital Collage as a Popular New Aesthetic? What are the roots/implications of this resurgence in occult imagery? Stay tuned for a follow-up post.