John Stezaker at the White Chapel gallery
The work of British artist John Stezaker engages with the ceaseless flow of images that is the consequence of popular culture, the mass media and mechanical reproduction. Instead of creating new images from scratch, Stezaker uses existing material: classic movie stills, vintage postcards and book illustrations. By means of minimal intervention, such as cropping, excision, rotation or occlusion, the artist removes these images from their original context, and allows them to acquire new meaning. Stezaker’s emphasis on the image itself reflects his fascination in the visual:
‘ I am dedicated to fascination – to image fascination, a fascination for the point at which the image becomes self-enclosed and autonomous. It does so through a series of processes of disjunction.’ This exhibition presents a survey of Stezaker’s work on paper from the 1970s to today. It focuses on ‘processes of disjunction’ in his use of collage, found images, and image fragments.
The artist’s collages often add or take away visual elements. The unexpected encounter of diverse images create surprising new narratives; the precise cut-out opens up new interpretations. His found images and image fragments take such approach of re-contextualisation even further. Through simple rotation or mere cropping, the previously forgotten images acquire a renewed poetic resonance, and, in many cases, disquieting allure.
John Stezaker is organised by the Whitechapel Gallery, London, and Mudam, Luxembourg.
With thanks to: The Approach, London.
A display of John Stezaker’s work is on show at the Louis Vuitton Maison, 17-18 New Bond Street, London, from 8 February-19 March 2011.
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