Written by Melissa Enders-Bhatia
Cut & Paste – these two words define one of the most basic and common activities we all perform daily on our computers and call to mind images of office executives hunched over their computer screens, immersed in daily clerical activities.
Applied to the world of art, these actions evoke the world of collages, montages, where everyday objects and images are taken from their usual context and reconfigured into independent artworks. Collage has an inherently rebellious nature. Associated since the early days of the 20th century with the iconoclastic creations of Picasso and Braque and the protests by the Dadaists against the insanity of a world driven by mechanization and war, the medium of collage is currently experiencing a renaissance. The inherent qualities of collage – fragmentation, rupture, contradiction, multiplicity – can be seen as analogous to the human, technological, and social conditions of the contemporary world. The formal strategies of collage are a close approximation to the experience in the contemporary, media domianted world, where channel hopping, web surfing, video streaming and hot desking are fast becoming familiar processes.
Over the course of two workshops in 2012 led by Bahrain-based artist Camille Zakharia, the artists in the current exhibition have made the potential and strategies inherent in the medium of collage – and its electronic counterpart, montage – their own and created artworks that reflect their current personal, cultural and political preoccupations. An artist like Tamara Saleh Al Pachachi decided to harness the decorative potential of collage through her abstract compositions, while Hala Yateem’s Collidescope uses Bahraini commercial logos to create a mosaic bursting with color. Sumaya Abdulghani’s delicate collage of leaves and words evokes the poetry of the Quran. Stephanie Ravel, Hanan Al Khalifa, Emily Greenwood Relf and Marwa Al Khalifa deal with the question of personal identity and history while cultural and political aspects are broached in the works by Muna Yateem, Saji Antony, Asma Jassim Murad, and Deborah Allen.
The current exhibition offers the viewer a whole spectrum of aesthetic resolutions in the medium of collage.