Exhibition on now: Lost World, John Stezaker

In his first New Zealand exhibition, award-winning British artist John Stezaker’s photo collage works are on show in Wellington for the first time.

John Stezaker, Mask (Film Portrait Collage) CCVII, Lost World, 2016, Collage, 25.6x20.3cm John Stezaker, Marriage (Film Portrait Collage) XCIII, Lost World, 2010, Collage, 19.5x20.4cm

John Stezaker, Mask (Film Portrait Collage) CCVII, Lost World, 2016, Collage, 25.6x20.3cm
John Stezaker, Marriage (Film Portrait Collage) XCIII, Lost World, 2010, Collage, 19.5x20.4cm

The exhibition, Lost World at City Gallery Wellington, includes 40 collages, along with five sculptures and a video entitled Crowd, which presents thousands of populous film stills, 24 per second, in a bewildering blur.

In his collages, Stezaker appropriates images found in books, magazines, and postcards, and uses them as ‘ready-mades’. Making collages the traditional way, John Stezaker juxtaposes the content and contexts of the original images to convey his own witty and poignant meanings. The work re-examines our various relationships to the photographic image: as documentation of truth, purveyor of memory, and symbol of modern culture.
Described by The Guardian as the “master of slicing and splicing”, John explores a repertoire of collage techniques — he places postcards on head shots, creating surreal fusions of landscape and face; grafts head shots to create new gender- and genre-blending characters; and crops or cuts holes in images to reorient their dramas and reroute their meanings.

“There is something very odd, even unnerving about cutting through a photograph,” Stezaker says, “It sometimes feels like I am cutting through flesh.”

City Gallery Wellington chief curator Robert Leonard said, “Stezaker’s work is nostalgic. His images hail from a pre-feminist age, when men were men and women were women, when gender was more defined and constrained — especially in the movies. Stezaker seems to both revel in and disrupt stereotypes, making them dance to his own tune.”

In addition to its exhibition at City Gallery Wellington, Lost World will travel to Govett-Brewster Art Gallery over December 9–March 4, 2018, and Christchurch Art Gallery from March 23 to July 22, 2018. To find out more, visit citygallery.org.nz