The art of collage: present and past
Following three years of providing lively, enjoyable and illuminating art tours of London galleries, Dido Powell (artist, art history teacher and tour guide) is leading a new series of tours on Zoom. Taking advantage of online accessibility, she draws on art not just in London galleries, but galleries in the UK, too. In the first two presentations of this Zoom series she is focusing on collage, starting with new works on display in the Royal Academy Winter exhibition.
Collage is defined in the Dictionary of Art and Artists as ‘a composition built up wholly or partly from pieces of paper, cloth or other materials stuck on to a support’.
These two presentations will focus on the incorporation of ‘collage’ techniques in painting and will also cover photomontage and painted ‘trompe I’oeil’ devices which mimic the playful deceptive aspects of collaged elements. Collage can operate as an extra language within a painting, offering clues and tokens from the real world thereby expanding the pictures range of meanings and messages.
Through a close analysis of individual works, Dido will explore compositional, decorative and aesthetic characteristics, whilst teasing out the meanings and narratives suggested by the uses of collage. These narratives can encompass both romantic and nostalgic themes as well as those of revolution and subversion, shock and political protest.
Presentation 1 Wednesday 28 October, 7pm
Starting with the present, Dido will introduce contemporary works on display at the Royal Academy ‘Summer/ Winter Exhibition’ 2020, and discuss the relevance and prevalence of collage devices in painting now. She explores the relationship between these works and historic paintings by the nineteenth-century ‘Nabis’ group, by the Cubists and by Pop artists. She examines the narratives of domestic intimacy, romance, memory and identities, all alluded to through the physical layering of multiple images. Appropriation in art will also be discussed.
Presentation 2 Wednesday 18 November, 7pm
The second presentation again starts with contemporary artworks from the Royal Academy exhibition, works which explore current political and environmental themes through the techniques of digital photomontage. Dido discusses these practices in relation to Surrealist narrative collage techniques, developed to create precise illusions of fantastic nightmare scenes, underpinned by subversive aspirations. She also examines the revolutionary uses of Photomontage and cut and paste techniques invented by European artists between 1925 and 1945. These are connected to Futurist and Cubist works, which alluded to the representation of time and the democratic role in art played by the inclusion of everyday disposable materials.