The new exhibition at SomoS in Berlin explores collage via the works of David Woodward and Ingrid Bittar.
From the very selection of image, collage is a tool for reflection on personal experiences and mythologies, then their relationship with the wider historical and iconographical narratives.
While the two artists are in a similar style, each collage bears the mark of its maker’s aesthetic preferences.
Woodward’s designs are sparse and meticulously arranged. Different images are placed next to one another as if in a museum display, for example in “Nightshades” (2014, collage on paper). His works echo Surrealistic compositions of René Magritte and Salvador Dali, and their interest in the uncanniness of everyday objects. At the same time, the artist is also exploring the human body as a site of subversive messages. In “Assumption of an Early Death” (2014) human and snake bodies are morphed together in an image with strong sexual overtones.
Bittar’s collages are, on the other hand, sumptuous and very decorative. Often arranged in a shape of a monstrance, the works imitate Baroque love for hyperbolism and overstimulation of the senses. “Pod” (2015) incorporates a variety of animal and floral motifs, whose unnatural arrangement give the work a dream-like quality.
Woodward and Bittar employ the collage form in order to probe the viewer’s attitude towards identity and memory. Their collages seem to represent one’s attempt to understand the past and put it into a coherent form; an achievement thwarted by the subconscious and the repressed elements of the self.
The exhibition runs at SomoS Berlin until October 17.