Artists use geometric collage as a way to toy with perspective. A look through our collection of artworks reveals that geometric collage remains a subversive art form; with the ability to challenge conventional representation.
Australian artist Kareem Rizk combines geometric shapes with magazine, newspaper and catalogue cut-outs of people, dogs, cars or cupboards, layering his materials onto wood panels. With his vivid yet vintage style, Rizk’s work German Shepard is reminiscent of advertising campaigns from past eras, creating a subtle comment about the industry’s lasting impact on society.
Slavomir Zombek’s geometric collages are distinctly minimal. The Slovakian artist’s sparing use of different materials and his confidence with white space means his work feels like a subtle and sophisticated study of texture. In Equilibrium N°03, three rectangular cut-outs are unusually arranged, encouraging the viewer to consider the subtle differences between them. In The Archetype N°05 a single diamond formed of newspaper clippings is centred against a backdrop of pure black.
Emerging in the early twentieth century, geometric collage is an art form that straddled two movements – arriving towards the end of Cubism and heralding the beginning of collage. Cubism was a style that radically changed the way artists depicted the world. The movement was dominated by flat planes and hard edges, translating landscapes and still-lifes into geometric shapes. Several years after the emergence of Cubism, two prominent cubist artists, Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, started to search for a way to introduce volume into their cubist works. At first, both began by adding sand to their paint as a way to introduce new texture. But a turning point arrived in 1912, when Braque chose to stick a piece of wallpaper to his painting (although Picasso said he started sticking cotton to canvas the previous year).
Art historians still quarrel over who was the godfather of geometric collage, also known as Synthetic Cubism, but they can generally agree that 1912 was the style’s birth date. During this year, Braque made a few drawings that incorporated printed pieces of paper, inspiring Picasso to create works such as Bottle and Glass on a Table, a minimalist drawing where the body of the bottle was a cut-out from a French newspaper, with the paper’s adverts for Quaker Oats and cherry brandy still visible. During this period, Picasso used not only newspaper in his collage, but also parts of musical instruments, music scores, tobacco boxes, fabrics and metal.