The Only Game in Town

Ten of Clubs by Raphaele Cohen-Bacry
11″x8″; hand-cut collage on paper; 2021. Courtesy of the artist.


Raphaele Cohen-Bacry: The Only Game in Town

at the Sahara West Library in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
7 March-11 June 2023

Raphaele Cohen-Bacry’s “The Only Game in Town” is a full deck of 52 of collaged playing cards of various sizes, plus a Joker.

The artist writes about this work: Several years ago, I stopped using paint brushes or any direct tools in an effort to break patterns and repetition, and I developed new ways of approaching painting.

The natural evolution of this research brought me to collage. This is an old practice that I always felt was underused. What is innovative in the way I approach collages is the fact that I am using a lot of pictures of artworks from auction magazines. I tear and assemble images of famous art to create new images of my own.

I also use large pieces of wall paper on my bigger pieces. This is my way of repurposing material and paying tribute to artists that came before me.

I purposely play with scale, by using large and small fragments of the same artwork, or images of the whole work and its details. This game of enlargement and reduction of the image confuses the distant and the near, and forces the eye to adjust. The viewer is therefore invited to pay attention to the illusion that the image creates.

These collages evoke recurrent themes such as the new versus the old, the sublime versus the trivial, the famous versus the obscure, and my latest research is about playing cards. Here too I am playing with scale, using “jumbo” cards as a basis for the collages.

I believe we are all looking for consolation and exhilaration, especially during the difficult times we are experiencing now. Some people revert to games, gambling, alcohol, etc, while others are putting their hopes into art. These large collaged cards are an attempt to reconcile the different ways we use as coping mechanisms and an uplifting way to look at ourselves and the world we live in.

(text adapted from material provided by the artist)


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