Erró - Collage
Collage is a form of artistic expression that Erró first discovers at the Icelandic School of Arts and Crafts in 1950-51. From torn or cut paper elements coloured beforehand, the young Erró creates a cohesion of abstract and figurative compositions whose inspiration is derived from the history of modern art, as well as from popular artistic practices.
Collage only becomes an integral part of Erró’s art at the end of the ’50s, from which point on he uses prints and images as the components for its construction. In 1958 while in Israel he creates a series of drawing-collages, Radioactivity, which echoes an anti-nuclear campaign launched by the Surrealist of Paris. These works consist of a juxtaposition of image fragments or phrases cut out from sources of English press, with simple illustrations drawn free-hand portray state of extreme tension. A year later in Paris, Erró abandons this illustrative method in his collages; instead, he confines himself entirely to ‘found’ print material, for instance popular magazines and technical journals. In 1959-60 he creates the picture series Méca-Make-up that is composed of images of machines, workshop objects and faces of fashion models. His creative originality reaches a highpoint when he starts reinterpreting a part of these first pictures in paintings, thereby endowing the collage with a dual status – a full-fledged work with its own features; and a functional role as a preparatory study towards a new genre. It is not until 1964, however, when the artist encounters consumerism and mass media of American society in New York, that his twofold artistic process becomes systematised and the collage becomes “the sole key to the creative mechanism and production of all [his] art.” (Alain Jouffroy, 1981).
Since 1989 Erró has donated 472 of his collages to the Reykjavík Art Museum. The current exhibition offers, for the first time, an opportunity to view a selection of 130 pieces spanning the artist’s long career. It includes drawing-collages and collage-montages, as well as cut-out work from his student days. The exhibition follows a chronological order that is underlined with thematic shifts, since Erró generally creates his work in thematically related series. The final section of the exhibition provides an insight into the creative process of the artist by displaying specimens of his painted work alongside the collages on which they were based.