College, Photomontage & Dada

I believe we all have a different idea on what art is, and its intentions – if any. And though art sometime transcends the conventions of genre, the personal beliefs we hold on art compels us towards certain mediums and meanings.

Following a lecture on Photomontage, I discovered that this is an art form that I personally identify with strongly, particularly the Dada Movement.

A collage is a form of art so widely used, most who create casually for fun could easily overlook how the medium is used all around. Pipes (2008) goes to great lengths to describe many different forms in which collage is used, from quilt making to tiles. However, he fails to mention a glaring obvious use, one which was adopted by an religion and used across the globe; stain glass windows. The arrangement of coloured glass to make a picture/illustration is in someway no different with abstract paper college works by Henri Matisse, or the crafted Christmas cards some of us made for our parents while in primary school.

With montage and photomontage using similar creation methods, it’s easy to see what the two are closely related in terms of art form. By using photographic elements in a collage, artist collaborations stretch further than before, with artist able to use images capture from the drawn of photography, to the latest selfie shot on an iPhone. In my option, this way of working can produce interesting results. When Andy Warhol and Jean-Michael Basquiat collaborated, they did so in person – often painting over each others strokes. This was a collaboration where the artist at least had a chance to discuss meaning and context to aid their creation process. With photomontage and montage – especially in the Adobe age – artist are able gather images for multiple sources freely, with reduces or prevents any interaction during the create process. For example, many of the photographers who have shot Donald Trump probably never expected or intended their work to appear as MEMEs or satirical pieces of art. Nevertheless, this lack of communication or interaction between artists often finds value beyond the original work/s.

As art always does, with the birth of the Dada Movement, what started as collage soon became politicised; as artists in Zurich used their talents to express their thoughts during – beyond the Great War. Art is, and always has been a great challenger of the status quo, so it’s at no surprise that the art community would find a new expression during arguably the greatest singular world event (at the time). Unlike verbal art forms, images can move beyond language, allowing the audience to derive meaning more accurately, even if their mother tongue differs greatly from the artist. I personally identify with this art form, largely because of this reason. By combining images, especially from different cultures, an artist can easily draw parallels between the audience, and there otherwise distant neighbours. In times of great difficulty, by reminding us that everyone is the same, equal and with the same passion and drive, perhaps art can reduce the breeding ground of apathy.

Following the lecture held on this subject, I returned home and experiment with my take on the art form. I created this series of images by using two layered photo’s in the iPad application, Procreate. During this process, I further discovered the beauty in simplicity.

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Bibliography;

Pipes, A. (2008) Foundations of Art and Design (Collage). (2nd ed.) London: Laurence King

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