STRIP in the Curve
First-time exhibition of the collage-series ‘STRIP’ by DR.ME
In the title-giving series, the Manchester studio DR.ME, consisting of Ryan Doyle and Mark Edwards, bring together different levels of the term as follows:
‘STRIP’ is the examination of a style that has advanced to become a characteristic of the duo: the paper strips, in which the original images are cut into stripes and re-arranged in order to de- and re- contextualize, censor or create entirely new images. ‘STRIP’ can also be understood as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the familiar short form of striptease, as the artist duo has mostly found the material that serve them as a basis in vintage pin-up magazines (straight, gay, trans). The depicted female and male bodies are fragmented by means of the paper strips, thereby creating new spaces for interpretation: In their ‘STRIP’ collages, DR.ME once again decide how much of the once explicit nude shots are visible and what is concealed by a new pictorial layer. The fact that the second component of the collages are often comic strips - the sequence of images by means of which the comic tells short, humorous stories - is of course no coincidence. As different as this interplay happens, in both elements man and his physical appearance play an essential role. Sometimes as an object of lust and desire, sometimes as an active character who drives the mostly humorous story of comics. However, the focus in all examples is on the human body, a motif that has always inspired art. Within the ‘STRIP’ series, the interweaving of the two layers creates a new interplay of allusion and open directness, of exposure, withdrawal, and censorship; the human eye, which always tries to complete the fragmentary images, is deceived again and again. Between its unveiling and disguising, DR.ME celebrate the human body and ask: Why do we censor bodies when we are all the same?
the Curve on Torstrasse
Matthieu Bourel | Dennis Busch | Anthony Gerace | Milen Till
Introduction to Contemporary Collage
Today, in a world where we collectively skim, copy, paste and reformat ideas from a terrifyingly vast digital landscape of images and information, collage is more relevant than ever. Contemporary lives are a constant collage of all sorts, effortlessly weaving references from high culture, low culture and beyond to shape our worldviews and personal or collective identities. The beauty of collage is that it carries fertile ground for multiple interpretations – political, flippant or simply aesthetically pleasing – yet it is inherently playful too.
Collage – by its simplest definition an assemblage of different components, compiled as a single image to form a new whole – has a rich and varied history. Some of the earliest proponents and those said to have coined the term were Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso in their Cubist work. So began collage as high-art and a means by which to destabilise ideas of what “proper” art materials could be. It was soon augmented by Dada artists like Kurt Schwitters and Hannah Höch, adopted by the Surrealists, and later rife in the work of Pop artists like Richard Hamilton, Robert Rauschenberg and Peter Blake.
As contemporary practitioner John Stezaker puts it, “Collage allows the opening up of conscious, which is very direct… it's also a way of looking at what you are consuming all the time.” He hits on a prescient point when it comes to contemporary collage and what a vital and vibrant role it plays in visual culture today. In a world where the boundary between truth and lies feels increasingly obfuscated, there’s a clarity in cut and paste; a sense of artistic agency in conflating references to make sense of, or communicate ideas from, the world around us.
By its very nature collage offers more capacity than most media for newness in an age where everything seems so directly pilfered from somewhere else. With the new technologies at hand, what was once a medium characterised by a certain lo-fi quality, can now embody high production values and complex technological processes. Part of the fun is in trying to decipher analogue from digital. Same as it ever was, collage can be representational, surreal or entirely abstract. Some artists work strictly analogue, using paper, scissors and glue; some use collage to augment works created predominantly in paint, charcoal, or pen and ink; some make highly text-based, typographic work; some use cutout found imagery as a springboard for witty visual puns; some use their own highly accomplished photography; others only those images that have been pilfered from elsewhere, digitally or physically.
The current and ever-swelling wave of collage artists working today proves the medium to be at a supremely exciting point in its history; opening up new questions about what “collage” is, what it can be, and what it can tell us. As collage-championing creative studio DR.ME sums it up: “Collage is everything.”
Text: Emily Gosling
Images: Christina Knapp Voith
Dennis Busch in the Curve
Dennis Busch (1971, Amstelveen, Netherlands) creates chaos out of the ordinary and reassembles it into a masterpiece of surrealism. The result: strange, witty, surprising, shocking, awkward, thought provoking, sentimental and one of a kind collage artworks. Since the late 1980s cutting, collaging and writing charmingly rude messages on found imagery is a big part of Dennis Busch’s life. His work suggests parallel universes in which the law of time does not apply. He praises the collage as a medium for transcending time, a state of creative dream walking. The show in the Curve is a glimpse into the world and mind of Dennis Busch highlighting his love for the imperfect and the absurd. Dennis Busch is the co-author of the acclaimed books „Age of Collage Vol. I and II” published by Gestalten Verlag.
© Uli Kaufmann
Enrico Nagel in the Curve
Enrico Nagel (1987) is an autodidact collage artist and illustrator based in Paris. The series „Substance“ featuring BODIES and HEADS was specifically produced for the Curve. The works show an interplay between colours, forms and textures resulting in a “substance“ of its own. Enrico alienates different shapes and combines contrasting materials, merging them perfectly into new utopian bodies. The marble paper underlines the transience of these hybridised beings and “abstract planets“.
© Uli Kaufmann
Isabel Reitemeyer in the Curve
Clean. Pure. Humble. These three adjectives best describe Isabel Reitemeyer’s collage work on display in the Curve. Isabel trained as a display window dresser, studied visual communications, worked as a graphic designer as well as a set designer for different movies. When she started out as an artist, she realized quickly that she doesn’t want to „decorate“ her work. Following her rule „less is more“ she uses little material to tell a story, transport a mood or create a space. These spaces are clean, focused and surprisingly calming in the world of collage art. Her works are neat and to the point yet give the viewer enough room for his/her own imagination.
KISS CUTS in the Curve
Milen Till’s Kiss Cuts are actual interfaces of art history and its media with itself. They create worm holes through which layers of art intimately fold on- and into each other. The layering consists both of histories and techniques: sculpture collides with photography, painting with itself, and otherwise impossible translations emerge in a tongue only the two mouths kissing canspeak and understand. This silent rapport is serialized and produces both volatile variety and strict incisions: there is something surgical about Till’s work, precise and clinical, strategic and methodical. At the same time, polygamy meets origami and while some kisses are those of lovers for life, some are fleeting and playful. (text: Paul Feigelfeld)
© Uli Kaufmann
IMC in the Curve
Ida-Marie Corell is an artist, musical performer, composer and thinker/synaisthetic* philosopher. Selected works of her collage series NEW YORK 2016 and USA TODAY 2017 will be presented in the Curve. Ida-Marie sees her approach to her collage works as a technique of rearranging and/or correcting “realities” by creating collages as a form of synaisthetic paper-surgery. The “other eye” (a reoccurring feature in her works) studies the details of identifications, differences, aisthetics and emotions with a light-hearted subtle critic. It simultaneously keeps track of the overall big picture and therefore offers a new perspective for the viewer.
*synaisthetic = interconnected senses
aisthesis = multisensory perception, more than visual
Jannis Paetzold in the Curve
Jannis Paetzold is a collage artist applying surrealistic techniques to create collage artworks that both play with and question our inherited ways of seeing. In a humorous and witty manner he combines found imagery from vintage and contemporary books, magazines and postcards and subsequently layers them into a new context. Jannis systematically provokes the coincidental encounters of cultural references, to describe and encourage the parallelism of his own and the viewers mental processes. With his poetic and humorous works which are of touching and distinct style he consistently questions our diverse relations to the world of photography and graphic design. His selection shown in the Curve depicts the most traditional collage style. He assembles hand-cut shapes and includes quotes of well known artists such as Max Ernst, Man Ray, Kurt Schwitters and John Stezaker.