The role of collage in art
Collage in art is one of the most used artistic techniques throughout history. In fact it is possible that we have all practiced collage at some time in life, even without dedicating ourselves professionally to art, since it is very popular to use in infant or primary classes. So although not all of us knew how to define it right now, we are sure that we are able to identify a work or collage sheet as soon as we see it.
Definitions of collage in the history of art
There are multiple definitions that try to explain it: “The union of multiple ideas in a single work”, “the use of multiple artistic sources to create a single concept”, “the sum of different parts of diverse origin”, “the free use and without ties in an artistic work of any kind of materials “, etc. etc. All these descriptions shed light on different aspects of the same idea, trying to discover the essence of a technique that for generations has accompanied artists of all kinds and origins, from Picasso and Juan Gris to Hirst or Hockney.
Synthesizing all of them, we could say that collage is an artistic technique, applied to all the pictorial arts (painting, illustration, engraving, etc.) that allows the artist to use all kinds of individual materials, to combine them in a single work. Materials that in the case of painting can be very diverse, such as paper, fabrics, small everyday objects, wood, photographs … The artist creates a unique composition with its own original concept, based on individual elements that can in themselves or not form a work by themselves.
The Collage and its popularity as an artistic technique
What is it about the collage that has attracted artists of all kinds, and that is used as a vehicle for artistic teaching in so many stages of school, is only explained by the characteristics or advantages of this technique, and that it differentiates it from other practices used in art. And among all of them we must highlight its versatility, and the freedom it offers the artist. Be it Pablo Picasso in his Paris studio or a 5 year old boy in a school in Malaga.
If there is something that defines art, it is the total and complete freedom that an artist must have to express his thought and feeling in a work. And in that sense the collage allows us a complete independence, free from the ties that more traditional techniques often impose. Technical limits … if I do not have paintings, how can I create a painting? Personal limits … if I do not know how to draw, how can I capture my idea on a canvas? Art, space, and time limits. In the collage there are no material or conceptual limits, everything in it is creative freedom and creative spirit. That is why it allows the artist not to be subject to any border. Because I can use paint, pieces of wood, plastics that I found on the beach, those pieces of paper that I have stored in the drawer. The canvases are not limited to me, the collage sheet can “escape” from the four dimensions that a rectangle marks, it can even come to life beyond the flat dimension that marks the traditional picture.
Of course, as an artistic technique, of course, you must have a goal, a goal. And a sense, an end as a creative work. But without being subject to conventions or traditional techniques. That is why it is used both in schools, as the first means of artistic expression of children, full of imagination. And that’s why it has adapted so well to the passage of time, and adapts to new materials and new technologies.