History of Collage & Photomontage: Melody Huerta

In the article Collage by Lewis Kachur we see that Collage art has a long history chronologically as well as a long history in content. The very start of its roots coming to the public eye in 1912 with then painter Van Gogh as the spark of the movement (Kuchur,1). From there were an assortment of interpretations within Collage art with many different mediums being used and many different results being brought to life.

Within the Collage article we see a piece by Kurt Schwitters named “Opened by Customs” this particular piece was first revealed in 1937. It is in many ways depicted by the piece’s title as it includes many different styles and colors of paper that allude to postage

Opened by Customs By John Schwitters 1937–8 (London, Tate); © 2007 Artists Rights Society

services.This possibly is a habit of the time as there were not necessarily digital technologies that could mimic the effects of pasting different textiles and images together outside of the physical action of doing so. With bits and pieces being visually sewn together the way I interact with compositions like this changes from looking at one larger piece to a piece that has many segments that can or cannot be interpreted individually.The artist made a conscious decision to place the small chunks of material together and then it is the job of the viewer to decide what that means for them. In this particular piece we see many different ideas from the Elements of Design reading come to life. The idea of balance I feel is very important especially in a Collage piece where sometimes it seems to be just a pile of stuff glued together.There are, on top of using pieces of postage paper and pages of books- brush strokes at the bottom that give it a sort of messy vibe that coexists perfectly with the paper layered over and around it. Schwitters does a really good job of finding that balance just when the eye starts to carry off in one direction other elements of the piece are able to pop up and bring the attention evenly throughout the piece.

In our day and age some of these elements can be replicated through digital mediums . Although it may no longer look like paper being cut up, the original elements of pasting different images together to create a more complex piece of artwork is still ever apparent.

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