Carnivalesque, Grotesque, Collagesque

A collage I made from an art catalogue.

I’ve always had a bit of a thing for collage. I love having the power to manipulate ordinary images and turning them into really twisted compositions that disturb even my art teacher. I wrote in an essay once that “the nature of collage as an art form swallows and digests ordinary imagery from multiple aspects then spits it out as a piecemeal reality to distort common perceptions” which actually sounds a bit convoluted but there’s some truth there. So with the idea of using collage to ‘distort common perceptions’, I’ve recently started playing around with the image of the body, creating abstract figures from a variety of images from everyday media (i.e. newspapers and magazines).

Just a bit of background information: the idea of manipulating the conventional image of the human body has always been done in the past for satirical and expressive purposes. The carnivalesque creatures dreamt up during medieval times were over-the-top, eccentric ‘fools’ that mocked the rich, whilst the grotesque body as a concept that was later introduced, represented degradation. Then there was Frankenstein’s monster, the cyborg body (i.e. the Terminator) and so on.

So here are a few of the strange figures I’ve created:

This one kind of makes me think about how much time I spend staring at my laptop…

This one is just strange. Like a grown foetus…with butterfly wings.

Playing with negative spaces…

Here are some of the collage artists I was inspired by, and took influence from:

BERNI STEPHANUS

I love how ordinary images from magazines can be abstracted in such an interesting manner.

Beastliness is the new standard…

HANNAH HOCH ( Dada Artist)

Hoch’s works are always filled with social and political commentary.

DEBORAH KELLY (Australian Artist)

Kelly’s works are often biomorphic and question the idea of beauty.

I hope you were able to see the potential of using collage and the ‘body’ to express different visual/conceptual ideas! So before you chuck out those old magazines and newspapers next time, why not do a bit of creative collaging? It’s honestly the most accessible art form.

I wish you luck in your artistic explorations. Have fun!

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