In terms of collage
The legacy of collage is codified alongside that of the readymade. Emerging in Western Europe following the first world war, the collage and readymade developed in the wake of the era’s brutal and unfortunate history: each violently rip objects and images from their stated, commonly understood contexts. Collage as a form takes this relationship a step further and actively fragments the dissociation between an image and its meaning, recombining various found imageries into new, disparate and unfamiliar arrangements.
Beyond the cut-and-paste terms of paper collage, the medium encounters a broadened and diversified terminology in the 21st century that welcomes a wider range of interdisciplinary activity. At the cross-section between collage as medium and collage as method, artists today approach a complex layering of images, media, cultures, and histories as expanded, post-media collage formats.
Sanford Biggers’ practice includes the reclamation and reuse of Civil War-era and other antique quilts. Biggers taps into this artifact of America’s racial history and layers it along a complex cultural collaging which brings personal, narrative, and even cross-cultural references into this legacy. Engaging collage across the visual and thematic antecedents of her practice, Kate Gilmore’s work synthesizes a variety of media in the legacies of action painting and feminist performance practices of the 1970s. In the performance A Roll in the Way (2014), Gilmore toils with paint-dipped logs as they roll and spread across a floor printed with the repeating word “way.” As Gilmore struggles and endures, the printed words beneath are slowly obscured as paint layers above.
Quisqueya Henriquez borrows and collages works from along the history of art to challenge its canon and grand narratives. She engages a historical revisioning where she looks back on the past century of artistic production and redirects her audience’s attention towards art history’s overlooked figures. Bringing found, physical objects into collaged forms, Pepe Mar’s works mine personal mythologies and those from throughout world cultures. Playing with motifs of museum display and exhibition, Mar’s collages layer cut-outs of historical objects from beyond the Western canon alongside pottery and other physical artifacts in the same vein.