John Steza­k­er
Col­lages

26th July – 6th September 2014
Anna Schwartz Gallery Carriageworks

Acclaimed Lon­don-based artist John Steza­k­er (born 1949) is known for his pho­to­graph­ic col­lage works that draw on the artist’s immense archive of mid-twen­ti­eth Cen­tu­ry cin­e­ma mem­o­ra­bil­ia, agency head-shots, post­cards and pho­to­books. He has been influ­en­tial to a num­ber of devel­op­ments in art over the last three decades, from Con­cep­tu­al Art to Appro­pri­a­tion Art,through to there emer­gence of col­lage as a con­tem­po­rary process. A prac­tice built over sev­er­al decades, using found pho­tographs and print­ed mate­r­i­al, Stezaker’s col­lages involve var­i­ous inter­ven­tions such as exci­sions, mask­ings, cuts, rota­tions and visu­al con­cor­dances. Jux­ta­pos­ing dis­parate sources, his work cre­ates com­pelling new images by splic­ing togeth­er diverse visions, con­join­ing male and female faces along sharp diag­o­nal seams, or plac­ing scenic Roman­tic land­scape post­cards direct­ly over the expres­sions of unknown actors. Rem­nants of the film indus­try are used to revi­talise the pow­er of the sta­t­ic image, insist­ing on the dynamism of the sin­gle frame and of the silent picture.

Read in a time of post-lens imag­ing, Stezaker’s works recall Sur­re­al­ist tech­niques and the form of Mod­ern polit­i­cal satire; appear­ing first as relics from Hollywood’s gold­en era, not with­out some nos­tal­gia. How­ev­er these fab­ri­cat­ed por­traits of an obso­lete glam­our speak direct­ly to a con­tem­po­rary expe­ri­ence of sat­u­ra­tion, of frag­men­ta­tion and illegibility.

Of his Mar­riage series, Steza­k­er says: I think of my col­lages as vio­la­tions, and there is a vio­lence, espe­cial­ly in my ear­li­er ones. That’s the big dif­fer­ence in my oeu­vre; the vio­la­tion of col­lage is more cen­tral in the ear­ly ones. In lat­er work I tend to see col­lage more as a kind of act of repa­ra­tion, bring­ing togeth­er, of heal­ing in a way, so heal­ing the divi­sions between male and female. And when I com­bine a male and a female, very often I feel as thought I’m cre­at­ing a kind of plau­si­ble per­sona rather than this blank per­sona of the film star. Strange­ly by com­bin­ing it with a sex­u­al oppo­site or with a dif­fer­ent being, you get a sense of some­thing slight­ly more human. So I guess it’s like the com­bi­na­tion, in Jun­gian terms, of ani­mus and ani­ma. You can read [the per­sona] in dif­fer­ent ways. Some­times I read it as a male with a female ani­ma, the female uncon­scious incor­po­rat­ed into the image. Some­times it’s the oth­er way around. Ide­al­ly there should be a bal­ance where it’s not a male being mit­i­gat­ed by a female side, or a female being mit­i­gat­ed by a male side, but there is actu­al­ly a com­plete bal­ance, an ambi­gu­i­ty, and that’s when it works best for me.”1

John Stezaker’s work has fea­tured in many group exhi­bi­tions, most recent­ly the 19th Bien­nale of Syd­ney: You imag­ine what you desire’, curat­ed by Juliana Eng­berg and Ruin Lust’ at the Tate Britain in Lon­don. In The Age of Col­lage’, gestal­ten space, Berlin, Ger­many, L’Image papil­lon’, Musée d’Art Mod­erne Grand-Duc Jean, Lux­em­bourg and Crys­tal Maze IV- 1+ 2+ £ = 3’, as part of Nou­veau Fes­ti­val, The Cen­tre Pom­pi­dou, Paris all in 2013. His work was also part of Out of Focus’, Saatchi Gallery, Lon­don in 2012. Stezaker’s work fea­tured in Col­lage: The Unmon­u­men­tal Pic­ture’, New Muse­um, New York and Mar­t­ian Muse­um of Ter­res­tri­al Art, Bar­bi­can Art Gallery, Lon­don in 2008, as well as About Face’ at the Hay­ward Gallery, Lon­don in 2004.

Recent solo exhi­bi­tions include Cut&Paste: John Steza­k­er’, Cen­tre de la Pho­togra­phie Genève, Switzer­land and John Steza­k­er: One on One’, Tel Aviv Muse­um of Art, Israel in 2013. In 2012 Galerie Gisela Cap­tain, Cologne, Ger­many had a solo exhi­bi­tion of Stezaker’s work. The Whitechapel Gallery, Lon­don exhib­it­ed Stezaker’s work in 2011, a show which then toured to MUDAM, Lux­em­bourg, and Kem­per Art Muse­um, St. Louis, USA. In 2010 Kun­stvere­in Freiburg in Ger­many exhib­it­ed Lost Images and Tab­u­la Rasa was shown by The Approach’, Lon­don. In 2007 he had a solo show at the Open Eye Gallery, Liv­er­pool, UK and the Project Room, Yvon Lam­bert, Paris, France.

Stezaker’s work is part of many col­lec­tions includ­ing the Tate Col­lec­tion, London,UK and the Muse­um of Mod­ern Art, New York, USA.


[1.] From an inter­view with Michael Fitzger­ald for Photofile

Images

John Steza­k­er

Col­lages, 2014
instal­la­tion view, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Carriageworks

John Steza­k­er

Col­lages, 2014
instal­la­tion view, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Carriageworks

John Steza­k­er

Betray­al (Film Por­trait Col­lage) XIX, 2013
Collage
2921.4 cm

John Steza­k­er

Betray­al (Film Por­trait Col­lage) XX, 2013
Collage
27.121.9 cm

John Steza­k­er

Grot­to, 2013
Collage
2430.2 cm

John Steza­k­er

He (Film Por­trait Col­lage) XXVI, 2013
Collage
27.620.8 cm

John Steza­k­er

Man and Light, 2013
Collage
25.520.7 cm

John Steza­k­er

Mar­riage (Film Por­trait Col­lage) LXXXIX, 2013
Collage
27.121.8 cm

John Steza­k­er

Mar­riage (Film Por­trait Col­lage) LXXXX, 2013
Collage
26.620.8 cm

John Steza­k­er

Mask CL, 2010
Collage
2519.9 cm

John Steza­k­er

Mask CLI, 2010
Collage
25.920.3 cm

John Steza­k­er

Mask CXLIX, 2010
Collage
24.519.5 cm

John Steza­k­er

Mask CXLVII, 2013
Collage
25.320.3 cm

John Steza­k­er

Mask CXLVI­II, 2012
Collage
25.820.4 cm

John Steza­k­er

Muse (Film Por­trait Col­lage) XIII, 2013
Collage
27.920.6 cm

John Steza­k­er

Muse (Film Por­trait Col­lage) XV, 2013
Collage
3129.7 cm

John Steza­k­er

Nar­ra­tive Flight I, 2013
Collage
20.525.4 cm

John Steza­k­er

Nar­ra­tive Flight II, 2013
Collage
20.625.9 cm

John Steza­k­er

Nar­ra­tive Flight III, 2013
Collage
20.629.4cm

John Steza­k­er

Obsta­cle, 2013
Collage
24.429.9cm

John Steza­k­er

Path I, 2013
Collage
23.629.4 cm

John Steza­k­er

Path II, 2013
Collage
23.829.8 cm

John Steza­k­er

Path III, 2013
Collage
20.725.4 cm

John Steza­k­er

Tab­u­la Rasa XXIII, 2008
Collage
20.226.1 cm

John Steza­k­er

Tab­u­la Rasa XXXIII, 2013
Collage
23.629.4 cm

John Steza­k­er

Unti­tled, 2013
Collage
2328.7 cm

John Steza­k­er

Unti­tled, 2008
Found image
18.619 cm

John Steza­k­er

Unti­tled, 2013
Collage
25.420.6 cm

John Steza­k­er

Unti­tled, 2013
Collage
25.622.5 cm

John Steza­k­er

Unti­tled, 2013
Collage
25.320.4 cm

John Steza­k­er

Unti­tled I, 2010
Found image
16.320.6 cm

John Steza­k­er

Echo (Film Still Col­lage) II, 2012
Collage
25.920.4 cm

John Steza­k­er

Hid­den, 2011
Collage
20.426 cm

John Steza­k­er

Cross­ing Over Series (Between) I, 2010
Image fragment
2.61.8 cm

John Steza­k­er

Cross­ing Over Series (Between) II, 2010
Image fragment
2.61.8 cm

John Steza­k­er

Cross­ing Over Series (Blind Sur­vey­or) I, 2010
Image fragment
2.63.8 cm

John Steza­k­er

Cross­ing Over Series (Blind Sur­vey­or) II, 2010
Image fragment
2.63.5 cm

John Steza­k­er

Cross­ing Over Series (The Cor­ner) III, 2010
Image fragment
3.45.1 cm

John Steza­k­er

Cross­ing Over Series (The Cor­ner) IV, 2010
Image fragment
3 x 4.5 cm

John Steza­k­er

Meta­mor­pho­sis, 2007
Found image
17.821 cm

John Steza­k­er

The Stain, 2006
Found image
16.520.5 cm

John Steza­k­er

The Sto­ry V, 2006
Collage
23.827 cm

John Steza­k­er

The Sto­ry VI, 2006
Collage
20.828.2 cm

John Steza­k­er

Open­ing I, 1994
Collage
2518.8 cm

John Steza­k­er

Open­ing II, 1994
Collage
2416.8 cm

John Steza­k­er

X‑ray, 2013
Collage
25.720.4 cm

John Steza­k­er

Drinker, 2012
Collage
20.925.3 cm