Tel Aviv Museum of Art Opens Exhibition of Collages from 1916 to 2008

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Collage is routinely used to describe artistic technique and practice. However, the validity of the present exhibition – which offers the viewer, in an exhibition that does not rely on chronological sequence, a selection of collages ranging from 1916 to 2008, mostly from the Tel Aviv Museum of Art collection – does not lean upon the term's limited functional meaning, but rather on the identification of collage as an utterance: the fundamental, characteristic even, utterance of the 20th century, which is charged with renewed vitality in the 21st century.

The history of collage is not the history of pasting technique. Most versions of this practice grew in a short time span, during 1911-1920, which are also the years of the simultaneous emergence of early Modernism movements. Indeed, changes that later took place in reproduction – from the photographic print screenings and lithography of the 1960s through video work, to digitization, and the present-day sweeping "cut & paste" existence – opened to artists possibilities characterized by less laborious manual work; yet over the years, and especially in contemporary work, it seems that the perceptions, versions and ways of application linked with the practice's early days have lost none of their charm and validity.

What is it, then, which even today makes collage so different, so enthralling? What is it that makes it appear so suitable of our time? Does it have any immanent, marked quality? And is it this single, specific quality that both enables its perception as the characteristic utterance of modernist avant-garde and constructs its considerable attraction today?..

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