Collage Allure*

Are collages just an art form for those who cannot draw or paint?

I ask myself this quite often since I spend a lot of my own lifetime cutting, matching, pasting, and titling collages, rather than practicing draftsmanship, etc.

The answer I usually give myself is that while collages might have been invented by those who couldn’t create original images of their own, these ‘borrowers’ managed to stumble upon an interesting crack in our psyches.

Many painters have painted larger images composed of smaller ones (think Archimboldo), yet the individual images all have a common, uniform language, and one voice can be heard, or felt, throughout. In a collage, however, the individual components usually have different origins and belong to different ‘sets’, so that when the collageist brings them together they form a time/space-warp which very much echoes our subconscious.

During every waking moment we have constant new sense-stimuli entering our sense organs and leaving their traces in our memory. We then carry around these traces as a collection of ‘found objects’ which our logic tries to organize into ‘proper’ separate categories. But when our logic takes a rest – after a shot, hit, or during a snooze – these objects all leap out of their ‘proper’ categories and start dancing and copulating in irrational Bacchic frenzies.

Collages have the ability to vaguely evoke these frenzies, even while logic be in full reign.

Whether or not one enjoys these Bacchic frenzies is a private and personal matter.  

Is Mika Tenhovaara a Bacchante? 

*Written for an exhibition of Collages by Mika Tenhovaara after being asked by a mutual friend, Hawk Alfredson.