John Stezaker: Collages

Art Life , Exhibitions Aug 01, 2014 1 Comment

em>From Andrew Frost

Following on from a recent exhibition of his work at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in Melbourne and inclusion of his work in the 2014 Biennale of Sydney courtesy of ACCA/Biennale curator Julianna Engberg, a selection of collages by British artist John Stezaker is on show at Anna Schwartz Gallery in Sydney. With that kind of coverage you’d be forgiven for wondering whether there was much more to see, but it’s a tribute to the powerful simplicity of Stezaker’s work that even those familiar pieces work their magic once more.

1440John Stezaker, Mask CXLIX, 2010 Courtesy the artist and The Approach, London

Although Stezaker is in many ways working in a familiar Surrealist idiom of found photography, albeit with a penchant for conjuring the uncanny from startling juxtapositions, the work has bigger claims to a conceptual consideration of photography itself. Like a number of recent photographers working only with archival images, or the web or with apps like Google Maps, Stezaker’s fascination is with the iconographic nature of images and the associations we have with them. By simply layering found post cards over the top of period glamour shots of now largely forgotten movie stars, or by slicing and layering together head shots, or by cutting out rectangles and squares from existing images, Stezaker achieves something remarkable – a conceptual project with a strong emotional effect.

Until September 6
Anna Schwartz Gallery, Darlington
Pic: John Stezaker, Mask CXLIX, 2010. Collage, 24.5 x 19.5 cm.

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Andrew Frost

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