Carolina Ponce de León

The history of collage originated in 1912 when Picasso, in order to represent a chair, glued a piece of waxed cloth to a painting, mechanically printed with the motif of a wicker weave.

For the first time in the history of art, an element foreign to painting itself and therefore foreign to the painter was incorporated into the pictorial surface, subverting, forever, the flat and homogeneous surface of painting. This gesture called into question both the virtuality of realistic representation (by putting “reality to represent itself), and the virtuosity of the craft, conditions inseparable until then to define the quality of a work.

The pictorial field became a field of objective experimentation in search of a two-dimensional image that would alter the illusory and fictitious character of realism. New materials and new possibilities of representation appeared. Not the anecdotal representation, but that of the artistic fact: the collage technique made the creative process visible and with it, the artist’s will to order, the very essence of art.

Beyond its experimental aspect and formal innovations, collage gave rise to multiple conceptual and expressive possibilities. For Dada and Surrealism it constituted a fundamental and precise means of demystifying the work of art and creating a new iconography arising from the unconscious, urban imagery and chance. As an autonomous expressive medium, it fostered a libertarian artistic conception, an attitude independent of conventions and canons established a priori, which would characterize all contemporary production. It is at the origin of artistic conceptions such as the ready-made[1] (the cubists integrated fragments of “reality” into painting; with the ready-made Duchamp introduced the prefabricated object into the field of art); the assemblage (three-dimensional constructions generally made with pre-existing materials or objects) and the installation that consists of the transformation or use of real space as a significant artistic space.

The works of the three artists in this exhibition, Luis Fernando Escobar, Yolanda Espitia and Germán Ospina, are examples that clearly manifest the heritage of collage and at the same time confirm the sufficiency and richness of this medium to respond to individual expressive needs.

Carolina Ponce de Leon.

[1]   The first ready-made was “realized” by Marcel Duchamp in 1924. It consisted of an industrially manufactured bottle dryer, which Duchamp “elevated to the category of art” according to the theory that any object can become art with the sole will of the artist and with the purpose of “creating a new thought for that object” (M.D).