What is the mechanism of collage?

Max Ernst (1891-1976) - Listonosz Cheval, collage 1932.
"I am tempted to see in collage the exploitation of the chance meeting of two distant realities on an unfamiliar plan [this being quoted as a paraphrase and generalization of Lautreamont's famous phrase: "Beautiful, like the chance meeting of a sewing machine and an umbrella on a dissecting table"] or, to use a shorter term, the culture of systematic displacement and its effects...A ready-made fixed, once and for all (a canoe) , finding itself suddenly in the presence of another and hardly less absurd reality (a vacuum cleaner), in a place where both of them must feel displaced (a forest), will by this very fact, escape to its naive destination and to its identity: it will pass from its false absolute, through a series of relative values, into a new absolute value, true and poetic, canoe and vacuum cleaner will make love. The mechanism of collage, it seems to me, is revealed by this very simple example. The complete transmutation, followed by a pure act, as that of love, will make itself known naturally every time the conditions are rendered favourable by the given facts: the coupling of two realities, irreconcilable in appearance, upon a plane which apparently does not suit them."
Max Ernst (1936)


Mick said...

What a short and sweet description by Ernst. The value of your finds, Julie, is better than gold for me - an amazing clearinghouse of stuff that I never seem to run across. Maybe I'm just not paying close enough attention, but with you here? I don't really have to. Thanks for that! :)

julie said...

today I woke up feeling very surly over the whole thing, with anxious dreams over the validity of my craft...why do i bother? creativity, the copyright issue...it all becomes such a drag. sometimes i just want to give it up, and go back to relentless painting, but i know this is my true calling.
Thanks for the thumbs up, it came on a good day, when i really needed it!

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