History of Collage and Photomontage: Jessica Harja

Out of the readings that we had this week, the artwork Le Cirque by artist Laurent Chehere caught my attention. This piece of artwork is a portrait-oriented collage that features a circus tent floating in the middle of the image frame with silvery-gray clouds in the background. A lone figure in a dark suit resides on the top left of the circus tent with balls and bowling pins falling from the bottom center.


This photo collage depicts a seemless collage of different styles inspired by artists like Bruce Davidson, Wim Wender, and Federico Fellini. (Artwork by: Laurent Chehere, Le Cirque, 2012).

From doing research on the artist’s website, it looks like he does a combination of digital and older-processed collages. Chehere doesn’t really go much more in depth on the actual process of his artwork but if I had to guess, making the collage is the analog part of his work and the digital part of the process comes in when he makes an artwork larger in print. As a current artist, I feel that Chehere might be influenced in knowing about the older ways of doing collage and is, like he mentions, inspired by older parts of Paris. Thereby creating larger prints from which his viewers can see the smaller intricate details that can be seen in this piece and other pieces included in his Flying Houses series.

When I looked at the artist’s inspiration for this specific piece, it made more sense as to why he chose to do things the way he did. I looked at the artists that Chehere said inspired this artwork; Bruce Davidson, Wim Wender’s Angels of Desire, and Federico Fellini’s La Strada. After studying the different technical aspects of each style of work, it was pretty recognizable in Chehere’s Le Cirque. Davidson’s dramatic lighting and mood that can be felt through the atmosphere in his photos is noticeable in the emotional feel that is exuded from Chehere’s work. Then, Chehere uses inspiration from Wender’s film by bringing a storylike quality to the way that the tent floats around in the clouds. Finally, as Chehere mentions when talking about this artwork, that Fellini’s movie theme inspired the idea of the tent itself but he twists the idea a little bit with the characters within the artwork but doesn’t give off the entire storyline. Merely a glimpse into it.

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