It's difficult, perhaps impossible to imagine a designer whose eye is not drawn to ephemera — the flimsy, forgettable, never-meant-to-survive bits of two-dimensional matter that circumscribe our daily lives — and by conjecture, to paper's wondrous reincarnation in collage. Does this not make collage the most sustainable of art forms?
David Wallace's minimal compositions typically involve the most forgotten of long-lost pages — the kind with loopy scribbles, sloppy handwriting, torn and dog-eared pages and arcane, mimeograph-era fonts. His collages celebrate the incidentals (the ink blot, the mess-up) which he brilliantly juxtaposes against found images, as in the image above, where an anonymous scribe once dutifully noted the difference between "compassion" and "concussion". Wallace adds surprisingly little — here, a fragment of a regal bust anchored by the smallest slice of a scotch rule — making for a deceptively simple, but brilliant visual arrangement.
Wallace is one of a number of international artists featured in a spectacular volume out next week from Gestalten — Cutting Edges: Contemporary Collage. This work reveals an astonishing assortment of approaches to printed matter, from the almost Caravaggio-inspired gloominess of Javier Rodriguez to the dense pictorial splendor of Angelica Paez and the deft choreographic elegance of Rodrigo de Fillipis. All in, more than 75 artists are represented here, and for those of you who think print is dead, or who think nostalgia is dumb, or who think collage is passé, think again. This book is a knockout.
Rodrigo De Filippis
On a side note, the printing is disappointing. Coated paper seems an odd choice here, and the dull patina does these artists no favors. Nevertheless, the paper choice may well be responsible for its reasonable price: at under forty US dollars, this book is surprisingly affordable. And nothing is more sustainable than that.