c s venkiteswaran
rumble strip,

the new indian express, dec 29, 2000

With collage, art theory goes on a holiday

A collage sits uncomfortably on the razor’s edge of art.
And it is exactly this discomfort at parading as art and this
radical self-consciousness that draws the viewer to it.
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How do you resist the ‘highbrow’/lowbrow’ divide in
art? ART actually comes into being and defines itself
by creating an artist/viewer, connoisseur/layman
divide. (Thumbing through the visitors book at the
gallery on finds responses like i am incompetent to
make a comment”, “Though I enjoyed it, I could not
understand everything fully well”, painfully reminding
one of the arrogant elitism of gallery ART that relishes
making ignoramuses of the average viewers). here
the surface and the images themselves become com-
monplace and transparent,jolting the assumption that
there is something profound behind and beyond the
image which the viewer has to unravel but always
keep eluding him
* * * * * * * *
Collage by demolishing the mystery of creativity, by
turning it into a ‘cut & paste affair,brings art back to
the ground level of common experience, Taking off
from the mundane, everyday throwaway images, it
teases reflection by juxtaposition and the immediate
impression of discord it creates in your mind.
Collage is brewed from the sediment of images that
flow through us.
* * * * * * * *
While being relentlessly flooded with images, how
does one save the the integrity and experience of the
image? by isolating it, mounting it and dragging it into
the serene, serious ambience of art gallery? or is it
by shocking the viewer at first sight so that he/she
hesitates for a moment before it?
* * * * * * * *
In our times, like narratives, all images are
exhausted - seen, shown, discovered, exhibited
and consumed. So, free from the burden of
’originality’, the artist (if there is someone like that out there still)
is left with fleeting images that he can only jumble.
* * * * * * * *
We consume images in their isolation from others, in
their insularity. It is as if they are self-contained and
complete in themselves. Advertisements images by their
very nature invite us to drown ourselves in them.
Collage breaks the boundaries of context, in the process
popping up surprise-contexts
* * * * * * * *
The more commonplace, ordinary and familiar the
image-materials the collage uses, the grater its reflec-
tion value. Priyan uses pictures and fragments from
advertisements of products and films, and even elemen-
tary text books to cook up his collage. This cocktail of
images cocks a snook at our morality, ‘normalcy’
and value systems.
* * * * * * * *