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Decoupage & Assemblage at City Lit

Tonight's lesson in collage was all about changing the face of an object and making things 3-dimensional. If you think about it, mixed media already has the instinct to go 3D - as soon as you fold a piece of paper, it's a 3d sculpture. Decoupage and assemblage are about building of abstract constructions from found objects and papers to hand. We were to treat this as an invitation to embellish and adorn, to construct temporal forms (ie structures that might only exist for a little while, while you take a photo of them). Constructing maquettes, and mini sculptures from found objects, to comprehend movement as a possibility and extension of collage sculpture; to explore performance life of collage; these were just some of the learning outcomes from this lesson.

It's all about how far you can take something. For instance, it's not enough necessarily just to create a sculpture of found objects; can you then light it, photograph it, trace it, manipulate it, reprint it, paint it, trace it, tear it up and reconstruct it, etc . This demo-sculpture made by Simon below used found objects; in 3 minutes using my iphone I show how it can be turned into a possible 2d painting.

Artists to look at include Grayson Perry and his pottery, Katherine Storey, who paints from the sculptures she's made, Neil Gall, who makes little sculptures out of things then paints what he sees onto large canvases;

Gainsborough used to make small landscapes from cabbages, and "laydolls" were used by many artists to position models. Also look at the work of Matt Calderwood, who uses objects to make prints from, Ann Hardy, Kathy Wilkes, Michael Dean, Fergal Stapleton, Angela Delacruz, who crushes and crumples things (after she found herself in a wheelchair for life, post-stroke).

Think about SCALE!!! Many Artists now work on a tiny scale because it takes up less studio space, which of course they can't afford. Can you blow things up or scale them down?

Can you photograph it on a shelf in Sainsburys'? Can you hang it from a tree?

Also explore: Karla Black, Martin Boyce, Phylida Barlow (Queen of Bricolage who transforms skips) , Oscar Tuazon who arrives at a museum with nothing to do a show, and then raids skips near the museum; John Chamberlain, Matthew Day Jackson, Stuart Haygarth who uses broken car mirrors to create a chandelier, Picasso, Vim Delvoye who cuts into rubber tyres with laser, Duchamp and his travelling valise, in which a cupboard becomes a vehicle.

Create a mini-photography studio with white background and experiment with an overhead projector to see if perhaps the shadows and shapes can be incorporated. Add words, string etc, to the photograph you take. Then see if you can paint it or film it moving somehow; just take it further.

My own attempts: all I had were wooden spoons and some newspaper from 1943, and some gardening mags.

I then tried to see if I could take them further with photographing, putting with different backgrounds, experimenting with light sources. A video of the piece I shall call "Garden" was interesting as we moved the light source slowly the shadows of the acetate plant drawings seemed to grow.


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