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21.09.11

  07:29:00 pm, by   , 215 words  
Categories: Art, Collage

Why I created a new photo blog

I decided to start another blog, but without words and only with snapshots taken on my walks. I like the idea of being completely spontaneous, instantaneous. I’m not a great photographer but I try to see as I told it my students when I was teaching photography in college. I am getting deep satisfaction by taking pictures. I am not as interested in landscapes as in people seen at a glance, and above all, I adore composing a picture in a second, that’s excitement for me. Today, I went out with my camera just for 20 minutes and I came back with some nice shots!
In the past, photography was the saving straw for me when my imagination had apparently dried out. This is not the case today. I just want to do more and different things.
As for collage, this blog will continue to show a reflection on my collages and the creative process involved. I feel that the latter is no more a problem for me: I just cut, tear, assemble and glue and that’s it! Hopefully this will last for a while. It’s like being on a holiday after tormented times. And on my site, the number of collages displayed is approaching the number 3000! And I shall go on! Because collage is magical!

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11.09.11

  06:33:00 pm, by   , 470 words  
Categories: Art

Two photos, related to painting and collage.

I’m currently experiencing an acute photo phase. When I go out, I always walk with a camera ready to shoot. I would like to discuss two of my photos here.

1) An " abstract painting" . When I see this picture, I wonder how I could do better. It seems to me that chances has so much done things right that I could remove the board and expose it as such. This gives me an insight into gestural abstract painting in the sense that I see it as a result of controlled accidents. And, opening one’s eyes, like Brassaï in his days, one may encounter "pictorial" motives that are as good as a real abstract painting.

2) To see if this also applies to figurative painting, here is a photo taken at a funeral. Triggering, I strongly thought about the Entombment by Titian, although nothing in the picture literally evokes it. Of course, painting has more opportunities here on to create a background, choose colors, etc. Because this photo is a snapshot. But the art of figurative painting from nature is (almost) lost: it is now largely reserved for photography.

Andcollage in all this? Well, it uses the images, regardless of their origin and recomposes them. It is - at least in my case - an art of manipulation, it's mix and remix, like a DJ does. It's fascinating, but it's also good to look up from one’s desk and go look out.

Je connais actuellement une phase photographique aigüe. Je me promène toujours avec un appareil prêt à déclencher. Je voudrais discuter deux photos ici.
1) Une « peinture » abstraite. Quand je vois cette photo, je me demande comment je pourrais faire mieux. Il me semble que le hasard y a tellement bien fait les choses, que j’aurais pu démonter le panneau et l’exposer tel quel. Cela me donne un éclairage sur la peinture abstraite gestuelle en ce sens que je la vois comme fruit d’un hasard contrôlé. Et, en ouvrant les yeux, comme Brassaï, on peut tomber sur des motifs « picturaux » aussi satisfaisants qu’une peinture véritable.
2) Pour voir si cela s’applique aussi à la figuration, voici une photo prise lors d’un enterrement. En déclenchant, j’ai fortement pensé à la Mise au Tombeau du Titien, même si rien dans la photo n’évoque littéralement ce motif. Naturellement, la peinture a ici davantage de possibilités quant au fond, aux couleurs, etc., car il s’agit d’un instantané. Mais cet art-là est perdu : il est dorénavant réservé à la photographie.

Et le collage dans tout cela ? Eh bien, il utilise les images, quelle que soit leur origine et les recompose. C’est – en tout cas en ce qui me concerne - un art de manipulation, c’est du mix et remix, à la manière d’un Dj. C’est fascinant, mais il est bon aussi de lever le nez de son bureau et d’aller regarder dehors.

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01.09.11

  02:44:00 pm, by   , 170 words  
Categories: Art, Collage

An Italian wedding catalogue

This big Italian catalogue inspires me for some ironic collages. There is a big hype nowadays about weddings. I never went into that; my own weddings (2) were sober, limited to close friends. My daughter made it much bigger, but thank God she did it only once. What amuses me is how the boys and girls are displayed on the pages. They look really artificial and not so happy. And when they are coupled, they don’t seem to have any relationship other than to show the dress or the suit. The other week-end, when we were at the Lake Thun in a splendid setting, there was a photographer making wedding pictures, maybe that this is the explanation for that. And I guess that I am a bit tired of news pictures and in search of something different. B.t.w. on behalf of my facebook publications, people seem to prefer my more "realistic" collages to the more complicated ones. I can understand that, but I won't make it too easy for my "followers".

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24.08.11

  04:07:00 pm, by   , 167 words  
Categories: Art, Collage

Dog days

Yes it's very hot in our appartment and it's difficult to work under these conditions. Even my beloved studio in Burgundy got hotter and hotter. So I made two collages that illustrate my "condition".

The first has been quite an illumination for me because of the transmutation of the beer head into the girl and the tender nip. I struggled a bit to make it perfect, but at the end, I felt deeply satisfied. But just after came doubt creeping inside my brain: what about the next collage? Should I always succeed in new associations? Or continue just so making uninspired works? Away demon! So the next day, I rested, but in fact, I just positioned some ideas for new collages. And the next day, I made something out of one of them.

Today, I made a joyful collage in a few minutes. I like it very much. Maybe it's not as witty as the beer-girl, but it makes me smile. Happy? Yes, collage is soooo cool!

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16.08.11

  07:28:00 pm, by   , 135 words  
Categories: Art, Collage

Art & the Dollar Crisis

This picture started with the idea on doing something with the dollar bill. I don't know if the collage is a real good one - but there's still some complication in it when one examines it closely. Anyway, a dollar is not very sexy by itself, seen from an artist's point of view. Warhol made his 200 1 Dollar Bills, it is done by repetition and multiplication (Arman). That's litteral but very effective. Googling through the images, one can see that "artists" often just change one thing, namely the face of George Washington, with a complete lack of inspiration imo.I retain the act of burning money (Serge Gainsbourg) as much more provocative. Van Reymerswaele is much more aggressive. The social aspect still present with G.Grosz a.o. has disppeared now as the elite has accepted the reign of money.

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15.08.11

  03:18:00 pm, by   , 247 words  
Categories: Art, Collage

FLOWER POWER, A COLLAGE WITH A TOUCH OF PLUM BRANDY.

This collage was very nicely stored in the trunk of our car, together with a bottle of plum brandy (Mirabelle, which is a small yellow plum, a speciality of Lorraine). The cork wasn't so well set, so some of the brandy overflowed my collage. I was litterally destroyed when I saw the disaster. After some drying and desperate ironing, the collage still looked awful. So I decided to tempt a digital restoration, and, after some efforts, decided to keep it and to publish it.

What makes me wonder is that I am so much attached to this collage - I currently am at 2940 collages published. So it is only 1/2940d of the whole collection. But in my eyes. each of them is unique and valuable and my creative flow (!) doesn't like any failure (I very rarely throw a collage in progress away, perferring to finish it, even if that means a lot of energy. Another fact is that I wouldn't care about the original collage if it would have been previously scanned, the main document being the scan for me.

What about the collage itself? I like it, even if the skin got some greenish tint. My wife told me to accept the accident, that the picture still looked nice, but I couldn't resist restoring some parts of it, but the digital work doesn't appeal to me so much in fact. So, next time I'll check the corks of the brandy bottles my brother-in-law filled up, for sure.

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08.08.11

  07:45:00 pm, by   , 137 words  
Categories: Art, Collage

HANDS, THE MAKING OF

During my holiday in Burgundy, I am very prolific. But sometimes, the collage is quite difficult to master. During the making of it, I go through different possibilities, always looking for the strongest expression This one is a good example, I think.

It starts with this very simple picture of a smoking man, lightly modified.

I then glue some arms in the middle of the figure. Why? I dunno.

Interesting, but not enough. On I go for a bigger change.

Now I have to adjust the picture. Bye bye the outstretched arms.

Better but not yet that. The lower right edge is uninspiring. I go back to my idea (pict.2). It's a monster, sort of Jekyll-Hyde now.

For the bigger picture, you'll have to wait for my coming back home. I'll put it then on my site.

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28.07.11

  05:59:00 pm, by   , 516 words  
Categories: Art, Collage

The dunce cap and the labled marble legs.

I will review this collage that touches me because it is related to my childhood. I have already made a collage where a horse's head is juxtaposed to a child's head (Horse girl, collage 2144, 2009 http://www.stephanus.com/images/collages/med/2144.jpg), but could one could believe that it is a momentary gesture due to the little girl bringing the horse's head in front of her own face.

Here, the merging is completed, even if the image is broken in the head. If in the two collages the two bodies are sculptures, in the latter it is passive, it is manipulated and you would think that when the book is closing, it would be folded in half and flattened between the pages, even if the head does not seem to want to bend at all! I feel very sad because it reminds me of a burial. But another association arises: the dunce cap on the bad pupil and the tyranny of the written word. Memory of a violent re-education from left to right, hatred of school and desire to escape - by day-dreaming or feigned illness. But the manipulative hands seem too soft to allow such an interpretation. The child-monster would therefore be safe in the book. It would be his refuge. Mystery of the image that eludes me and questions me on a figure starting from a labeled pair of marble legs, becoming a living body above and ends with a disproportionately large head half-human half-horse, with a single eye looking at me while receding, depriving me of any opportunity to see clearly what’s going on here.

Je vais commenter ce collage qui me touche car il a un lien avec mon enfance. J’ai déjà fait un collage avec une tête de cheval se juxtaposant à une tête d’enfant ( Horse girl, collage 2144, 2009 http://www.stephanus.com/images/collages/med/2144.jpg) , mais on pouvait croire à un effet momentané dû au geste de la petite fille ramenant la tête de cheval devant son propre visage.
Ici, la fusion est accomplie, même si l’image se rompt dans la tête. Si dans les deux collages les deux corps sont des sculptures, dans ce dernier il est passif, il est manipulé et on pourrait penser que le livre se refermant, il serait plié en deux et aplati entre les pages, même si la tête semble ne vouloir se plier du tout ! J’en éprouve une grande tristesse, car cela me fait penser à un ensevelissement. Mais une autre association me vient : le bonnet d’âne du mauvais élève et la tyrannie de la chose écrite. Souvenir d’une rééducation violente de gaucher en droitier, haine de l’école et désir de m’en échapper – par le rêve ou la maladie simulée. Mais les mains manipulatrices me semblent bien trop douces pour permettre une telle interprétation. L’enfant-monstre serait donc en sécurité dans le livre. Ce serait son refuge. Mystère de l’image qui m’échappe et qui m’interroge à mon tour sur une figure qui part d’une paire de jambes en marbre étiquetée, devient corps plus haut et finit avec une tête démesurée mi- humaine mi- cheval, avec un œil unique qui me regarde et s’éloigne, m’ôtant toute possibilité d’y voir clair.

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20.07.11

  10:40:00 pm, by   , 472 words  
Categories: Art, Collage

Me & my Teddy Bear

This collage is autobiographical. It is the merging of two images I carry with me. The first is a picture of me naked at the age of 3 years or so, on a beach along the Baltic Sea: a blond (this will not last) boy who stands in front of his father’s camera. The other is my teddy bear who never left me, during or after the war, until - probably tired of his childish object or driven by a legitimate curiosity - I ripped it’s belly open to find only straw and I snatched the eyes.
I like this fusion, it came when I stuck a volcano cloud on an Amazon beetle and I was touched by the inability of these small "arms" as it is the memory I have of my state :impotence. Powerlessness over things, objects that are hostile or difficult to master, especially in the environment of a city in ruins and finally with some people, eg. my brother, who was five long years older than me and made me feel it brutally, before my distant mother , all devoted to her social life and before a father who played more Santa Claus than just a father.
And when I look at this collage, I am touched by this "Hilflosigkeit" (helplessness) -something of me as a little child is expressed in it,since that image resonates so strongly in me.

Ce collage est autobiographique. Il est la fusion de deux images que je porte en moi. La première est une photo de moi, nu, à l’âge de 3 ans environ, sur une plage au bord de la mer baltique : un petit garçon plutôt blond (cela ne va pas durer) qui se tient devant la caméra de son père. L’autre, c’est mon ours qui ne m'a jamais quitté, ni pendant, ni après la guerre, jusqu’à ce que – sans doute lassé par cet objet enfantin ou mû par une curiosité légitime – je l’éventre pour y trouver seulement de la paille et que je lui arrache les yeux.
Cette fusion me plaît, elle est venue quand j’ai collé un panache volcanique sur un coléoptère amazonien et que j’ai été touché par l’impuissance des petits « bras », car c’est le souvenir que j’ai de mon état : l’impuissance. Impuissance devant les choses, les objets qui se montrent hostiles ou difficiles à maîtriser, l’environnement si particulier d’une ville en ruines et enfin devant certains êtres, comme par ex. mon frère, qui avait 5 longues années de plus que moi et qui me le faisait sentir brutalement, devant ma mère si distante, toute à sa vie mondaine et devant un père qui jouait davantage au père Noël qu’au père tout court.
Et quand je regarde ce collage, je suis touché par cette « Hilflosigkeit » (état d’être sans défense) – quelque chose de moi petit s’y trouve exprimé, puisque cette image résonne si fort en moi.

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18.07.11

  06:05:00 pm, by   , 418 words  
Categories: Art, Collage

Resurrection

I have not even had time to photograph the different steps of this creation, so deeply I was stuck inside.
It begins with a war story, an old painting, I glue a picture of a man emerging from a car to the right border and then the character is becoming more important when it receives a huge head. The left side lacking now interest, I take pieces of an Egyptian sarcophagus in order to create another character whose gesture covers the head of the right character.
The result, in my view, is an image of resurrection, an undertaker standing at the right side in the picture. The character in gold rises, he is not yet fully conscious, his actions are a bit messy, but he comes back to life, he has a body part that already becomes flesh. His head is tilted - a sign of sadness - because he knows nothing about what to expect as a living being, but certainly enough to know that he will suffer as he was alive long time ago.
So back to life against the backdrop of war (covered in the collage). No religious aspect here, just a movement of recovery.
I wondered if the image, which by its very nature is ambiguous, allows interpretation point-cons: This would be the introduction of the inert, a last gasp perhaps before the ultimate stillness. Possible, but I prefer the other version which imposes itself spontaneously to me.

Resurrection, collage 257

Résurrection
Je n’ai même pas eu le temps d’en photographier les étapes, tellement j’ai été pris dedans.
Ça commence par une histoire de guerre, sur une vieille peinture, je colle une image d’un monsieur sortant d’une voiture à droite et puis le personnage prend de plus en plus d’importance quand il reçoit une immense tête. Le côté gauche étant de ce fait devenu peu intéressant, je prends des morceaux d’un sarcophage égyptien pour y créer un autre personnage dont le geste recouvre la tête du personnage de droite.
Il en résulte, à mes yeux, une image de résurrection, un employé de pompes funèbres se tenant à droite dans l’image. Le personnage en or se redresse, il n’est pas encore vraiment conscient, ses gestes sont un peu désordonnés, mais il revient à la vie, il a déjà une partie de son corps qui redevient chair. La tête est inclinée – signe de mélancolie – car il ne sait rien de ce qui l’attend en tant qu’être vivant, mais sûrement de quoi souffrir puisqu’il a été vécu il y a bien longtemps.

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Blog on art, centered on collage. It is meant as a sort of logbook of my creative work.

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