Zoë Croggon: trial and error
Zoë Croggon will present two recent works in Melbourne Now, entitled Fonteyn 2012 and Challenger 2012. Zoë completed a Bachelor of Fine Art (Honours) at the Victorian College of the Arts in 2011, and currently lives and works in Melbourne. Combining interests in video, sculpture, architecture, dance and drawing, as well as the open-ended possibilities afforded by reclaiming archival images, Zoë revels in unexpected juxtapositions of forms and textures. Her recent practice has culminated in merging disparate images, found and gathered, into deft and delicate collages. I asked Zoë recently to talk about her processes, source materials, and the relationships between her appropriated imagery to the body and theories of dance.
MF: Where do you gather the source materials for your photo-collages?
ZC: My source material is taken from everything from dance catalogues to tour guides. For the most part it’s very difficult to find the image you’re hunting for so I try to have a liberal approach to collecting source material, considering every reference available. A large part of my process is combing thrift shops and collating found material until I have enough to begin closely studying it in terms of its significance to my work. An image may appear aesthetically insignificant on first inspection but the moment you begin considering it in relation to another image its potential is immeasurable.
MF: How has your personal background in dance influenced the selection of imagery?
ZC: I think that having a physical and theoretical base in dance allows me to see the body as a metaphoric vehicle, or agency, of communication. It is through the body’s changing dynamic of shape and line that metamorphosis occurs and I think that this notion translates directly to my collage work. The physical discipline involved in dance and the tendency to concentrate both physically and psychologically on a specific area of the body correlates with my consistent use of the severed limb, isolated and removed from its owner and rendered an object of communication.
MF: Can you please describe your technical processes?
ZC: My process is one of trial and error and is quite protracted. I assemble a selection of images I intend to work with and examine each image in relation to another until I reach a kind of “conclusion” with a pair of images. I try to amalgamate two images into one, creating a single entity that is removed from its referent. The work is assembled manually, scanned and then digitally printed, which allows for more liberty with scaling and presenting the final work.
MF: How did you first arrive at this process of conflating images of human figures with appropriated images of architecture, the natural world and the media?
ZC: My work has always focused around the formal qualities of the human figure and it was a haphazard assemblage that first got me interested in working solely with a figure in combination with a dissonant physical environment. It seemed the more collage I made the fewer elements I used. This reduction continued until I found myself working with a pair of images, a figure and its surrounds, one overlapping the other. There was a simplicity in the gesture of coupling two images, evenly split, that I loved. My early work with this concept combined a fluid figure and its organic environment. I recently shifted from a natural to a primarily artificial environment, coupling glimpses of modern architecture with the rigid or posed body.
Images: Courtesy of the artist and Daine Singer, Melbourne