Monday, 28 January 2008
The art of assemblage
This interesting post got me motivated about a subject that is linked to my project. The post is about recycled sculpture by British-born sculptor Tony Cragg. Made from materials found in household trash to construction refuse, the installations take the shape of graphic forms from afar. Up close, the graphic shapes transform into colorful and detailed pieces.
This got me thinking about the art of assemblage, which apparently have been traced back to the 1930s if not earlier. In an exhibition entitled, "The Art of Assemblage" in MOMA that served as a starting point for this style, William Seitz (the curator of the exhibition) defined assemblage as "the fitting together of parts and pieces". The exhibition showed work done by major European artists like Picasso and Braque as well as less known American artists. Its known to the French as Bricolage and have been described as "savage thought". Its seems that assemblage have always tended to be a political statement. Its mostly associated with industry, accelerated production, consumption and therefore destruction. Perhaps the fact that most of these installations are made of "found objects" and the poor condition in which these "found objects" tend to be automatically associate these concepts with this style.
Yet what intrigued me in Cragg's work is that I find some positiveness in his work. It seems to me that instead of criticizing and attacking the world for creating this junk as most assemblage artists do, the use of bright colors and the graphic forms he shaped allows us to embrace this junk and find beauty in it. Compare his work with this installation by Louise Nevelson. Its called Sky Cathedral, found in MOMA and measures roughly 3.5 x 3 meters.