The City Makes its Own Collage

I’m a big fan of collage in its many forms. By its many forms, I mean traditional collage where people cut things out and past them back together using paper media or manipulating digital images, or even (as in this case) simply repurposing found art juxtapositions. This begs the question, “what is collage?” – I like Max Ernst’s definition best:

Collage is the noble conquest of the irrational, the coupling of two realities, irreconcilable in appearance, upon a plane which apparently does not suit them.
Max Ernst

One of the things that I like best about collage is that once you’re used to it, you start to see juxtapositions in everyday life that, while accidental, imply collage in a found art sense. Sometimes the city makes its own collage – hence the title of this post. As posters and handbills are layered over each other, they get torn, revealing bits of the images and text beneath, creating a new image. A number of artists have seen this accidental collage and used it (or its semblance) to their own ends, like les Affichistes in the 1960s (Raymond Hains, Jacques Villeglé, Mimmo Rotella, and François Dufrêne) making art out of found torn posters on the street or FAILE today, who create their own artwork mimicking this effect and paste it up as street art (or more likely, now that they are recognised in the art world, sell them as limited edition prints, but you get the idea). Click on any of the images below to see them bigger.

Then, there is the “work” I see around the city – in this case, Montreal, where I live. Is it apophenia or is it an emergent property of urban life? Either way, these visual delights are something I always enjoy when I stumble across them, and when I see a really good one, I take a picture. Click any of the images below to see them bigger.