Index: Collage


Scrambled Metrics & Mixed Signals

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Inert and broken rulers measuring only their own lengths, street signs so densely clustered they tie the very idea of place into a thick knot, stadium diagrams and timetables rotated and overprinted until they blur into unparsable eddies of information… at the heart of Greg Colson’s work lies a desire to scramble, smear, or re-frame the established order of things meant to communicate a sense of order. That all the work still emanates a steady signal of pure information imbues it with a bracing clarity, while the degree to which familiar information is scrambled accounts for it’s fascinating power.  I discovered Colson’s work in a remaindered copy of Giuseppe Panza: Memories of a Collector. Panza was a fervent enthusiast of post WWII modern art and among the earliest collectors of Rauchenburg, Rothko, Kline, and Lichtenstein (and a foundational donor to the Los Angeles Contemporary Art Museum). The book abounds in seminal and lesser known works by the greats (his Franz Kline collection is definitive) as well as top shelf lesser known artists, like Colson. Huge score, still in print, available here.

Mimmo Rotella

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As with most great pop art, the pleasures of Mimmo Rotella’s decollages are simple ones – expressive technique, flashy subjects, and a lusty joie de vive. Rotella tore away at lurid, glamorous and melodramatic Italian ads and movie posters, ripping and chemically dissolving them into something essential. In each case what is revealed is a burst of pure expression: shards of glamour, rough tapestries of melodrama, and blurts of type. Although critical appreciations of his work are often barnacled with pomo foolishness, they lead to fascinating places. He was a member of a European variant of Pop art called Nouveau Réalisme, which was founded in Paris by Yves Klein. Related philosophically and aesthetically to the Dada and Fluxus movements, it will certainly be a subject of further research… (By the way, what is it with all the Italians around here lately? Boldini, Disco Volante, now Rotella, an upcoming post on Virna Lisi…)