Hybrid Bodies and Portraits in Collage Art
Tonight on the City Lit Collage course with Simon English, we focused on creating hybrid photomontages of the body, whatever kind of "body" you might imagine. Simon's advice was not to plan it, and to keep it SIMPLE, and leave a lot of space on the paper!! Just make one and move on, creating many in an allotted time. The more brutally different the elements you are using, the better. Just start with a head, and think about the materials you are using, can you paint or over-draw, can you take it further and trace from the collage?
If you think about it, we create bodies easily out of the many things we see - eg the easel standing in the corner of the room; the piano legs that were covered up in Victorian times because they were thought to be too erotic...
Check out Dali, Hausmann, Ernst, John Stezzaker.. This is Andre Breton's chest, exhibited in 1936 at a Surrealist International Exhibition.
It's a bit like grave-robbing to make a Frankenstein, and encompasses the Surrealist idea of the Exquisite Corpse. Collage is the opposite of the idea of a "window into the world". It's about forging unlikely juxtapositions between opposites, understanding Metamorphosis,
Max Ernst's 'The Chinese Nightingale' 1920 (photomontage)
Here are some of mine from the class. It was much harder than it looks, partly because there is never much time, and I hadn't brought in much material. I nearly burst into tears halfway through the class because I just found I couldn't switch the cogs of my brain to work more laterally, which other classmates seemed to have no problem with! But I stuck it out, and Simon our teacher was (sweetly) excited by what I managed to produce.
And some of my classmates' pieces: