Assemblage art is non-traditional sculpture, made from re-combining found objects. Some of these objects are junk from the streets. It is doubtful that this form of art could have existed before the 20th century. We needed copious stuff to have this art form. But assemblage art is more than the works themselves. It expresses an attitude or statement by the artists about our throwaway society that values ever-more newness over quality. From www.contemporary-art-dialogue.com
In working as an assemblage artist and studying the art-form, I sometimes muse over the question of why assemblage artists get so wrapped up in the work we do; it sometimes gets obsessive. I mean, we gather old stuff a lot. We combine and recombine. We make social statements, or not. We comment on our culture, or not. We collect, we transform, we get stiff necks. The techniques we utilize are not really taught in mainstream art schools. Yet, coming forward into this century, assemblage, junk art, found object art, is a recognized art form.
Ed Kienholz used to drive an old pick-up around L.A. picking up junk for his works. The door of the truck was painted with the sign, ‘Ed Kienholz, Expert,’ and his phone number. He was buried in that truck. Really.
One of the things I love about assemblage is the humor. Satire abounds. Favorite examples of mine are the corrupted painting/collages that Jacques Prevert did of the Van Dyke, della Francesca, and Toussaint paintings where he has displaced the heads of dignitaries with that of grotesque animals:Apparently Prevert, like the rest of us, searches flea markets for his materials and collects old stuff. I think there is a charm to forgotten relics that draws the artists in our house to dust bins and second-hand stores.
In this video La Wilson paints an apt picture of the assemblage artist. A peek into her studio, (cleaner that mine) and her musings on her art form, speaks to some of the commonalities we share as a group.