Collage as model

Bowman, Matthew (2018) Collage as model. In: Collage, Montage, Assemblage: Collected and Composite Forms, 1700-Present conference, 18-19 April 2018, Edinburgh College of Art. (Unpublished)

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Insofar as semiology examines language synchronically, there is question about its application within a specifically art-historical discourse. A productive test case for analysing the potential conjunctions and disjunctions between art historiography and semiology is the re-examination of Cubism by October critics Yve-Alain Bois and Rosalind Krauss. At the 1989 Picasso and Braque symposium held at the Museum of Modern Art, both Bois and Krauss presented important papers that utilized semiology as an interpretative method for elucidating the collages and papier collés of Synthetic Cubism. In both of their presentations, historiographic questions and the inaugural character of collage are repeatedly highlighted. Bois’ essay exhibits an effort to think through the process that led to the epistemological break of the paper collés, and for Krauss the issue of art-historical method is raised, particular the antimony between formalist versus socio-historical paradigms.

This paper explores the semiological approaches taken by Bois and Krauss and considers their fecundity for the art-historical study of Synthetic Cubism. However, in doing so, it seeks to resist the notion that Cubism is viewed through the lens of semiology as if such a theoretical approach merely constitutes an interpretative model that can used or not. On the contrary, this paper aims to suggest that Cubist collage functions as a model: firstly, as a model for understanding semiology rather than vice versa, and secondly as a model for our art-historical accounts of Cubism. By examining how Cubist collage establishes the condition of possibility for its interpretation, I hope additionally to shed light on October’s overall turn from art criticism engaged with theorizing contemporary art to a more genealogical writing that will define the journal’s output from the late 1990s onwards. That is to say, collage becomes a potential model for art history tout court.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: art, collage, assemblage
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Business & Applied Social Science > Department of Arts & Humanities
Depositing User: Matthew Bowman
Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2020 10:17
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2020 10:17

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