The technique of collage fits perfectly into our current age. Raw visual material is collected by an artist and then combined in such a way as to abstract the individual elements enough that the artist's own vision becomes prominent. Because collage’s references range from other artistic works and techniques to scientific images, pop culture, and erotica, these raw materials reflect humanity's collective visual memory and context.
It's collage's broad scope—and irreverence—that make this technique so interesting for both artist and audience. So it comes as no surprise that a lively scene has developed around contemporary collage in the last few years. Our book Cutting Edges was the first to document work by this scene, which has continued to expand the possibilities of the genre.
Beyond the lowbrow movement, which brings a fresh perspective to figurative surrealism, more and more established artists are now embracing this medium. Their work bridges the historical gap between the classic pioneers of the technique from the 1920s and today's vanguard of contemporary collage.
Showcasing outstanding current artwork and artists, The Age of Collage is a striking documentation of this new appetite for destructive construction. The book also takes an insightful behind-the-scenes look at those working with this interdisciplinary and cross-media approach.
While illustration, painting, and photography continue to fundamentally influence collage, the featured work also plays with elements of abstraction, constructivism, surrealism, and dada. Collage gives artists more room to stake out diverse artistic positions than almost any other existing technique.
Through confident cuts, brushstrokes, mouse clicks, or pasting, collage gives the impossible a tangible form—while turning our worldview on its head along the way. In their visual confrontation with reality in our digital age, which has already made geographic, temporal, and artistic boundaries obsolete, these artists celebrate and exaggerate simultaneousness.
Silke Krohn is a curator and art historian who specializes in surrealism. She has already contributed her expertise to Gestalten publications such as Cutting Edges and Everything Goes Right & Left If You Want It: The Art of Sergei Sviatchenko.
According to the artist and collagist Dennis Busch, “art should be able to laugh at itself. And to die laughing.” Known as the “James Dean of Illustrators,” Busch enjoys playing with the human form to create something new. A master of masking and the double-take, he brings a generous dose of surrealistic humor to classic cut-out techniques.