Last week I started a series of three collage workshops with a group of students from CAP 1 looking at different techniques and processes in contemporary collage. We started by looking at how it first appeared as an artform via a brief history of the medium throughout the 20th Century starting with Cubism through Futurism, Dada, Surrealism Pop Art and then looking at a selection of contemporary artists who work in collage.
We had a good discussion around the choice of source materials, how the selection of imagery and text from different sources can have an impact on the meaning of the work, and talked about the differences between creating collage from found images, compared with using your own photographs or artworks. We talked about collage being a process of the addition and or removal of information from the original source image, and looked at works which applied various techniques to create new narratives by removing, adding or merging visual information. We also talked about the recent rise in digital media, and questioned whether digital collage is perhaps a far more appropriate medium of our time.
This week, we looked at some different ways in which artists have presented collage in an exhibition setting. Looking at things like size and scale of a work, situations both inside the gallery as well as outside. We thought about how the different ways of displaying a work can have an entirely different impact on the viewer, and can impact the meaning of the work itself. Each student chose an artist for us to look at and discuss and we managed to look at a great variety of different styles and techniques from Paolozzi’s abstract collages of the 1950’s to contemporary conceptual work of Serrah Russell, and Hollis Brown Thornton.
It has been great to revisit and share some of my favourite collage artists with the students as well as discover some new artists and works I haven’t seen before. I’ve really enjoyed having interesting discussions about the use of collage in contemporary art practices, from the political to the surreal to the digital age, we have brought up some great points!
For next week, I chose three images and gave everyone a copy of each. I have asked them to create a collage for next week and am really looking forward to seeing everyone’s work!