JOHN STEZAKER

John Stezaker’s work re-examines the various relationships to the photographic
image: as documentation of truth, purveyor of memory, and symbol of modern
culture. In his collages, Stezaker appropriates images found in books, magazines,
and postcards and uses them as “readymades.” Through his elegant
juxtapositions, Stezaker adopts the content and contexts of the original images to
convey his own witty and poignant meanings.

Stezaker often focuses on the concept of portraiture, both as art historical genre
and public identity. Using publicity shots of classic film stars, Stezaker slices and
overlaps famous faces, creating hybrid ‘icons’ that dissociate the familiar to create
senations of the uncanny. Coupling male and female identity into unified
characters, Stezaker points to a disjointed harmony, where the irreconciliation of
difference both complements and detracts from the whole. In his correlated
images, personalities (and our idealizations of them) become ancillary and empty,
rendered abject through their magnified flaws and struggle for visual dominance.

In using stylistic images form Hollywood’s golden era, Stezaker both temporally
and conceptually engages with his interest in Surrealism. Placed in contemporary
context, his portraits retain their aura of glamour, whilst simultaneously operating
as exotic “artifacts” of an obsolete culture. Similar to the photos of “primitivism”
published in George Bataille’s “Documents,” Stezaker’s portraits celebrate the
grotesque, rendering the romance with modernism equally compelling and
perverse.
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JOHN STEZAKER
Untitled
Film Portrait Collage
10 1/4 x 7 7/8 in.