Monday, February 7, 2011

Meaning Manipulation- Editing and Juxtaposition

For those who do not know, I am a devout fan of surrealist art. It just speaks to me. Today, I came across this London artist who I was previously unfamiliar with, and now fear I may become OBSESSED with, a good kind of obsessed of course :) His name is John Stezaker and his artwork struck me as using similar technique to that of documentary film to create meaning- i.e editing and juxtaposition. He calls his pieces 'collages' because he uses ready made images and juxtaposes them together in unique ways to create meaning.

His current exhibition taking place in London right now (why am I not there!?) combines photos of classical Hollywood stars, calling into question our general concepts of gender. Notice how the feel of the images change when they are place next to one another in these ways- asking the viewer to reexamine their concepts of masculinity and femininity. They also touch on the aesthetic idea of the 'aura' of an art work, i.e. the meaning and significance it has in a particular place, space, and time. These sorts of reproductions and re-conceptualizations, I think, completely dismantle the seemingly intrinsic aura and invest it with something all together removed from the original meaning.
It was interesting to me how the mash up (if you will) of the images works to create meaning- even if in a somewhat abstract way, similar to what someone like Vertov was communicating.

Through his editing, he addresses the ideas of perception and reality, gender, the concept of the aura in both art and film stardom and even draws into question our concepts of space and time (especially evident to me in his pieces composed of classic photos/images and open spaces, architecture, and nature). Further more, some pieces seem to be commenting on ideas about space and connections on an interpersonal level, something that was addressed also in the "Connected" film we saw.

Anyway, I thought they were really interesting on many levels, and seemed related to what we had been discussing in class in terms of realism- what is real- and what is constructed by a filmmaker or artist. What do you all think? I would love to expound on this idea as it crosses artist boundaries and realms.

Check out more of his artwork, the pieces are really varied and remarkable, and very beautiful in my opinion.

1 comment:

  1. Rikki, you do a nice job here of tying in this amazing collage work to the documentaries we watched during Sundance and in preparation for Sundance in the class.

    It seems to me the watching all those films in a relatively short amount of time also almost pushes us into the surreal—forces us to see reality in a more detailed and not necessarily pleasant way, and to see that the world might not be as we imagined/expect it to be.
    I especially like how some of these images make it apparent how little distinction there is between our representations of masculinity and femininity in Hollywood. And, as you note, the distinction (usually not so visually present) between close physical proximity and other types of profound distance.

    I appreciated getting to see these images, and appreciate your editing of what we looked at initially.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.