Robert KLIPPEL<br/>
<em>(Untitled)</em> 1955 <!-- (recto) --><br />

collage of cut printed illustrations, gouache and pencil<br />
37.8 x 55.6 cm (sheet)<br />
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne<br />
Gift of James Mollison, 1981<br />
P54-1981<br />
© Andrew Klippel
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(Untitled) 1955
Media Release • 19 Mar 10

Stick it! Collage in Australian Art

Opening in March, the National Gallery of Victoria presents Stick it! Collage in Australian Art, the Gallery’s first exhibition to focus on this fascinating art form.

Featuring over forty works primarily drawn from the NGV Collection together with a small number of loans, Stick it! explores graphic and eye-catching works created by pasting and applying paper, ephemera and other materials to a base.

This exhibition will features a selection of collages made in the past seventy years by some of Australia’s leading practitioners of this technique, including Sidney Nolan, James Gleeson, Robert Klippel, Mike Brown, Elizabeth Gower, Mandy Martin, Nick Mangan and Brook Andrew among others.

Alisa Bunbury, Curator, Prints and Drawings, NGV said the use of collage boomed in the 1960s under the influence of British and American Pop art.

“The abundance and excess of mass consumerism and the desire to shock, provoke and joke inspired many Australian artists to explore this method.

“This exhibition looks at how artists have used this technique, both as a final product, and as a step in their creative practice. The viewer’s familiarity with the objects forms an immediate connection with the collage, while the unfamiliar combination of materials and contexts is both stimulating and challenging,” said Ms Bunbury.

Many collagists are collectors, hoarders, scavengers in op shops and book shops, who save an interesting face, body or machine part, animal or texture from a book or a magazine. This art practice often involves mass-produced materials that are readily available and recognisable including newspapers, photographs, postcards, stamps and tickets.

Widely used by Cubists, Dadaists, Surrealist and Pop artists, collage became popular in Australia as an art form in the 1930s. Among the first Australian collages were those made by the young Sidney Nolan. The earliest work in the exhibition is Nolan’s A mythological battle 1938, comprising two nineteenth-century engravings that have been cut and collaged together.

Frances Lindsay, Deputy Director, NGV said: “From early work by Sidney Nolan to recent collages by Nick Mangan, Stick it! demonstrates the practice of using everyday material to create a work of art that challenges traditional art forms and one’s own perceptions.

“This is the NGV’s first exhibition to focus on collage showcasing the Gallery’s significant collection of works that concentrate on this technique,” said Ms Lindsay.

Stick it! Collage in Australian Art will be on display at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Federation Square from 20 March to 29 August 2010. Open 10am–5pm, closed Mondays. Entry is free.

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