John Stezaker’s Collages Are Subversive Pictures

John Stezaker Collages Subversive

John Stezaker has been making collages since the 70’s and was one of the first British conceptual artists to react against the predominance of Pop art. His work is often surreal, made from cutting and pasting, adjusting and inverting classic movie stills, vintage postcards, book illustrations and publicity photographs as Art historian Julian Stallabrass has said about it:

The contrast at the heart of these works is not between represented and real, but between the unknowing primitives of popular culture, and the conscious, ironic artist and viewer of post-modern images.

Stezkars work is subversive, his art a form of cultural resistance to the ubiquity of the image as promoted in the media, an attempt to give new life to a visual culture that is bombarded by pictures, particularly now, in the age of social media.

In someways Stezaker acts as a standard bearer for the lost image, of times past, when photographs carried a weight and substance, but now simply represent a culture that has been eroded by global banality and ubiquity. In spite of overwhelming odds Stezaker’s fight is done with humour, perversity and a satirical wit, his collages continually celebrating the grotesque and the romance as an affront to the increasingly dull post – modern world.