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22/10/10

  12:09:00 pm, by   , 231 words  
Categories: Art, Collage

Red sludge spill

This collage has been lying around for several days.

It's on the red sludge spill in Hungary: a dog stuck in the disaster. I took a Monet (Etretat) to emphasize on the spill, but was perplexed about the continuation of it. The collage itself seemed quite interesting to me, but not collage-like; I mean that there weren’t any fractures or syncopation, just a flat picture. My different attempts in order to change that were not successful at all. Thinking day after day about it, I knew that I had to make a sacrifice: I had to change what I liked most in order to free myself. It was the dog which reminded me of our beloved last dog, a bearded collie. Another collage was hanging around with "flying" footballers which I linked to Signorelli’s Last Judgment in Orvieto

And then suddenly I found another picture of a triumphant footballer - there I had it: The dog was half sacrificed, but the expression was stronger and the whole structure much more interesting. A little retouching and the collage was done.
As for the meaning, I won’t go into moral considerations; I am just questioning myself why the bosses of such companies can act in such ruthless manner. Thinking of the 300x90km oil “cloud «floating in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico and what the BP managers do, I am just dismayed.

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12/10/10

  03:32:00 pm, by   , 165 words  
Categories: Art, Collage

FROM ONE DWARF TO THE OTHER


This collage came after some hesitations that I did not take with my camera. The first idea was about a fe-male, with a disproportioned body (cf. the arms). But then I stuck the female body on the sheet and loved the nipple- nose. It reminded me of Velasquez' dwarfs In fact, I already treated this subject years ago:

The differences I see, is
more freedom from the sources. But this is due to the fact that I don't start with a reproduction but with photos and that the reference come during the work;
more boldness in composition - the way I put the pieces together and maybe
more meaning.
My painting is a combination of Velasquez' painting and Dali's figure. My collage has several roots: for ex. to Magritte and his painting "The rape"
, to the truncated hands in the Velasquez, the way Picasso made variations on famous paintings etc. But the collage stands for itself, I hope - it's only the cream on the apple pie.

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01/10/10

  07:15:00 pm, by   , 285 words  
Categories: Non catégorisé, Art, Collage

POPSTAR A FLASHY COLLAGE

These days I am preparing my exhibition in Geneva, starting on November 13th, and I am choosing the collages to be shown. I noticed an new tendency in them: some are more flashy and pop-like. So I intend to push this genre a little further, without redoing what has been done before by Warhol and followers. Visiting the museum of modern art in Nice, mostly dedicated to the "Ecole de Nice" (Arman, Christo etc.), I felt that most of these works have become old and without much interest except for history of art studies. When I make a "poppy" collage, I have to flatten the space of the picture; I sacrifice depth and play with pictorial codes and color. I wonder if this shallowness means a loss of meaning too. Looking at Warhols, I feel this loss while I am attracted by the pure presence of it. It is there, it doesn't refer to any picture safe to itself. Another point is the absence of lightening; these pictures look overexposed . That is their strength - they behave like a fetish. Whereas my collages want to tell a story, make hints to other paintings or photos; be there just to make the onlooker think about other pictures. It's the essence of collage, I believe.
This collage started as usual with the deformation of a tennis champion. In fact, I was attracted by the violent expression of the picture.




At this point, I was already drifting towards pop.

My Popstar became an idol on a pedestal. The picutre was interesting, but the tennis racket had nothing to do here. As one says in French : Aux grands maux les grands remèdes, I decided an important change.
Here it is:

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19/09/10

  10:51:00 am, by   , 393 words  
Categories: Art, Collage

Death, the maiden and the pond

In my precedent posts, I am analyzing what happens with inspiration. In my actual life, I am waiting for the hospital to fix the operation I must undergo. After several months of looking for a letter from the hospital in my mailbox, I now stopped that game and think about everyday life. But still, this fore coming event is still in my mind, but lighter than before. In a recent dream, I had to cross a big pond during a walk. OK, when I woke up, I understood the message. It is a pond, not an ocean!
Does this influence my work? Somehow yes, but I’d rather say not much. While I was making a collage, I stumbled on a skull. I decided to put into the collage, thinking about Schubert, Baldung Grien,
Klimt,
Schiele,
Kokoschka… but not about my personal situation. My references are iconographic, literary and musical. When something happens during the work, I welcome it, try integration into the collage or put it elsewhere. I don’t WANT a certain collage; I let things happen with thoughts about other art works I know.

And that’s what happened here. As I had got stuck in my work, I took a photo and tried something new, as I usually do in this kind of situation. Putting the skull here and there, with reminders from Baldung Grien, I remembered a photo I had seen in one of the magazines on my desk: a crying woman (Picasso!) in front of a TV screen. And there I had it, at once! Death comforting the living, but holding it tight! This is not my situation, of course, but there is a feeble connection, I must admit. As for the other collage, I changed it later into something about war and casualties. Am I personally concerned? Not in my knowledge. The only souvenirs from war are the Spitfires and the bombs, later the ruins. But I surely see the news on TV.
So the link between personal life and art is not automatic, it’s an elaboration to express one’s inner state. And it’s not enough to paint a pond for ex. in order to express the expectation of the operation. Nobody can understand this metaphor without an explanation. A pond is a pond, period. If I want to say more, I’ll have to do more: tell a story.




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08/09/10

  03:50:00 pm, by   , 570 words  
Categories: Art, Collage

Behind the picture

In the previous post I wrote about the verbal elaboration that takes place after the making of the collage. But it happens very often now that I am trying to “push” the collage even if the picture is already quite seducing, also semantically.
The first idea was that grotesque dance of a man with a half-naked woman, the contrast between the two, but I missed something on the left side where one could see a male torso and a head above the outstretched arm. I couldn’t find a formal solution for that strip. I thought about cutting out the background above and left side, but I didn’t like to put the black and white figure against a colored background. I preferred sticking something over it, leaving the head partly free. This transformed the picture in a hint to crucifixion, the man clings his arm around the suffering woman. But the left side wasn’t resolved, so I modified it completely, the picture becoming a deadly dance (Totentanz) with reminders of Böcklin for the red dress and the morbidity of the subject. By this, the main figure became less dominant, but better linked to the left side. The final touch just stressed the left figure so that the whole became a possible father-mother-child constellation as well as the dancing figure, making it do a tango-like step and I cut off the big tit.
What did I gain?
First of all more confidence. Indeed, I managed to finish the picture to my satisfaction. Secondly a more conscious elaboration process which remains as open as possible for innovation. The book I discussed in the former post shows collages that go a straight way, with few mods – all the conception is done when the parts are glued together, whereas my ways are in zigzag, with many important changes during the making of the collage. I’m an improviser, not a planner, but as in music, improvisation is always confined in borders – otherwise, there would be chaos. But the picture must undergo transformations – in my eyes this is the essence of collage. Otherwise I could just as well paint after some collage. I am conscious that working this way means taking some risks, but I am granted with deep satisfaction when it works. In fact, I very seldom tear a collage up, I mostly can handle the situation. Do my unconscious processes help me? For sure, after some 40 years of collage, there must be some specialized area in my brain. But there is also a lot of consciousness at work. Not like – “Let’s make a collage on a dancing woman”, but “Oh, this woman in a red dress needs a partner, yes, there’s a head with a hand at the shoulder, let’s put it against the woman’s breast. Nice, like a baby. And now, what legs?” Etc. One association gives birth to others. I never succeeded at it in painting.
Behind the picture, there is work and inspiration and … knowledge of what other artists did and do now. And the many “repentirs” (= regrets or repaints) underneath the final collage which marks the end of the zigzag.
My personal fate – a kidney operation is underlying the picture, but not directly. Maybe I am the dancer? Death smiles at me, a little man trying to seduce her. It won’t be my last tango, I am sure this time, even if I am reminded that life comes to an end.

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04/09/10

  09:47:00 am, by   , 522 words  
Categories: Art, Collage

THE HIDDEN MESSENGER

Just read some pages from a book on collage (Living into art). What I like is that these artists meet in a common place, work and discuss together. But where I disagree is when it comes to the meaning. Roughly said, I make a difference between private meaning – what the collage means to me, what I discover through it etc. and a general meaning – what everybody can see or discover in the work. In this book, the author handles the meaning i-king-like: it is as if the all-knowing unconscious – generally well hidden from our conscious mind – somehow leaks through the collage, giving us a stream of information so that we can better understand ourselves, our lives etc. Here it is named “unconscious thinking”. But when I look at those collages, I only see symbolist works, a rebus that I cannot really understand: a finger pointing at a tombstone in the sky with a mourning woman: If I don’t know the intentions or the life of the artist, I am as lost as in front of a contemporary art work. But mostly those symbols are quite common, like in a dream book (as in Freud’s for ex.).
For my collaging is playing with pictures. It is not a means of knowing me. I like to improvise, the spirit being void as in traditional Chinese or Japanese drawing in order to let things happen. The interpretation comes afterwards. And the latter is done with words. In my eyes, this writing or telling is a sort of story writing. The collage itself is only a canvas of associated elements, a mosaïque offering plenty of interpretation possibilities. It is not a message from another world. It is art, which means inspiration, innovation, form, color etc. together with possible interpretations or “stories”.
Here an example. In these days I am waiting for the decision on a probable kidney operation. As one can understand, this is no.1 of my preoccupations. Some of my collages are somehow linked to this fact, but others not. Hey, my dear unconscious, what are you doing? You should stick to the most important issue, not be playing around with pictures! You behave like a child! Please be serious! Give me messages! Anyway, what should I do with them? They won’t change what is.


To make it short: collage is playing with art. It’s easy to learn and the results are often stunning, because this technique induces surprising associations if we can get rid of the symbolist crap inherited from painting, and work without preconceived ideas. The neurobiologists tell us how the brain works: there is no author-postman inside who throws his messages in the collage-box, where we have just to pick them out and understand them. No, meaning is a construction. Free to me to link it to my own experience, but this will be the work of the onlooker. And when I am finishing a collage, I become an onlooker, I start looking for a meaning – to quote Robert A. Burton: less there is an obvious meaning, the more we try to get one. I guess that that’s the way collage works.

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28/08/10

  09:32:00 pm, by   , 280 words  
Categories: Art, Collage

VIEW OUT OF THE TRAiN

The man in the train is a theme that I painted years ago. It was the picture of woman leaning against a train window, with a very melancholic Scandinavian landscape behind: mountains and in-between a gap with white light. The whole painting was monochrome, in cold blue. At that time I liked to travel alone but could feel solitary at moments.

Maybe too that the outlook of my life wasn’t so enthusiasming as it should have been. Another version of this theme vas a horizontal painting figuring a again a man in a compartment with an egg on a tablet and a futuristic scenery behind the window. Images of melancholy, of missed occasions, of mysterious fore comings? I was in my 30ies then and just after a terrible drama and divorce.
My collage has reminded me (after completion) of these fore runners. And I see some differences. First of all in the general Stimmung : it looks much funnier to me. The figure is a bit nosy, its napoleonesque gesture , haircut and clothes seem quite outdated compared to the outfit of the bathers. It’s a tourist coming from another time, let’s call him Memling. Memling doesn’t pay attention to what’s going on behind and under him, he doesn’t care about swimming, sunbathing or other holiday attractions. He just passes by. Only the bored left eye might give a hint to some melancholy whereas his nose is already on the beach.
I must say too that the collage seems more improvised to me than my paintings, I am tempted to say that I gained some pictorial freedom and a greater sense of humor, looking at life with some distance, at least sometimes.

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20/08/10

  06:15:00 pm, by   , 329 words  
Categories: Art, Collage

Expression vs. harmony

Reading Robert A. Burton’s book On being certain, I feel comforted about my many doubts concerning what I am creating day after day. For example, passing at my brother's after several years of absence, I discovered on the walls some of my earlier works. Looking at them, I felt pleased for the fact that displayed them but I was tempted to "better" them. Indeed, as I see it now, these works are a little maladroit. But when I made them, I felt like a king. Since then, I guess I instructed my hidden artist to be a harder judge, at least I hope so. In those years, I resented some vanity in saying or thinking that I was an ARTIST, a chosen human. Thank God, this is gone now so that I can focus on the work itself and leave my ego not out of the game but not interfering too much. What I learn in this book that the Buddhist conception of reality (maya) is a brilliant insight in the way the human conscience functions. So why do I do what I am doing? Because I don't know a more pleasant way to get some insight in the creative possibilities of the human mind. And then of course, the temptation of building up an opus magnus, or better of trying to reach for perfection, to go farther. Collage means to me expression, not a quest for beauty and harmony. When there is harmony it occurs despite of expression, a the result of a long struggle with the fragments. Whereas painting refers to beauty and harmony – at least as I see it. I always had to struggle to squeeze out the expression. The only paintings that privileged expression over beauty were from artist like Caravaggio or Goya. And my search is for expression over harmony, surely because beauty is often an illusion in my eyes and it becomes so easily stereotyped.
Here is the link to the bigger picture.

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06/08/10

  09:51:00 pm, by   , 109 words  
Categories: Art, Collage

THE BIG LEAP

I like this grotesque collage because it is quite amusing. And that’s what I am looking for in these days before my hospitalization. The figure is jumping across the bourgeois interior, sailing through the room - where to? I don’t know how and where he’ll land, if he’ll hurt himself or just get safely on the ground. Or does he just pursue his flight? And he’s looking a bit awkward, quite surprised by his sudden power. And hope this will be same for me. I don’t care what kind of leap I’ll do, but, please, let it be a big one, Mr. Chairman.

And here is the making of it:

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26/07/10

  10:08:00 am, by   , 78 words  
Categories: Art, Collage

HAPPYNESS

In the weeks before my operation, I continue making collages. The previous post "Angst" has been a kind of expression of my worst feelings. Since then, I have been at my desk again, at my daily collage. This one is quite joyful. It started very differently!





The most important change for me is from 3 to 4, where the fearful expression changes into a smile. I feel that this is the way to go in my life, whatever may happen.

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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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