Remake the World

By Carl David Ruttan

Remake the world. Take it apart and put it back together again. Collage is the language of revolution: of re-ordering the world; taking things apart at the seams and stitching something new together in its place. Collage is an act of integration, a radical project of unity through non-conformity.

The fun of collage is the quirky shifts created by the juxtaposition of different elements. We perceive the imagery differently once it has been re-contextualized. Each element sits between worlds, the world of its source, and that of its new situation. Collage can be made from very fine materials, or from very crude materials. The effects of each are strikingly different. Delicate patterns of fine papers are materially distinct from flaking layers of torn street posters hardened by paste into thick stiff boards.

I love torn posters: superposed and blended together to reveal new narrative structures. Sometimes I build them up, and sometimes I tear them down. Those two actions are complementary. Collage often produces dream-like and surreal juxtapositions. The violence or harmony with which images are juxtaposed also plays into the meaning we are likely to ascribe to the imagery. When composing images, I try to uncover the hidden potential in an element, to have it connect on several different resonant levels of harmony. The colours should blend, as should the textures and imagery. A good collage should look like a deliberate composition, not simply a random collection of images or material.