Your brain…your brain on collage

Collage can be a metaphor for consciousness. After all, the mind is like a collage. Ephemera, glued together by an invisible Artist.  The result in patterns may or might not make sense.

Some minds might be like a collage by the painter Elliott Puckette.

Elliott Puckette, “Untitled,” 2005 (Courtesy the Artist & Paul Kasmin Gallery)

Others might be like a work by Raven Schlossberg:

Raven Schlossberg, “Belvedere Arms,” 2002 (Private collection, New York
g-module, Paris )

Still others might resemble the minds of Thomas Hirschhorn and Felipe Oliveira Baptista:   you never know what they’ll look like.

Hirschhorn, Thomas - Spinoza Map - Conceptual art - Mixed technique - Other/Unknown theme

Thomas Hirschhorn, “Spinoza Map” 2007

Hirschhorn uses collage with unconventional materials, in forms from paper to performance, from sculpture to installation.     The collage above uses cardboard, paper, plastic foil, transparent adhesive tape, prints, felt pen,  and highlighter.
This series maps the principles of great philosophers, with works on Spinoza, Foucault, etc.
When it comes to philosophy, I tend to zone out. In fact, when I see a title like “Foucault Map,”  I’m reminded of a Gershwin lyric:

My nights were sour,
spent with Schopenhauer.

But that’s just me.

Hirschhorn’s collage take on a conventional diagram is one way of picturing the mind.

Thomas Hirschhorn The artist's studio in Paris

Thomas Hirschhorn’s studio in Paris (Photo by Norbert Schoerner)

Another map of consciousness might be read in this photo of Hirschhorn’s studio.   The artist’s process involves creating amid a jumble of ephemera, working instinctively, grabbing this piece, then that, then another.

Is that how we interact with our thoughts? We grab manufactured images, paste them up, making our own picture of reality.  In other words, we “collage” our inner images onto people and events.  In psychology, this is called projection.

(My nights were destroyed, spend with Sigmund Freud? Wait a second–Gershwin never wrote that.)

Thomas Hirschhorn, "4 Subjecters (Hostile Fire)" 2009

Thomas Hirschhorn, “4 Subjecters (Hostile Fire)” 2009

Hirschhorn seems to be exploring projection in his installation “4 Subjecters (Hostile Fire).”   Paper prints are attached with brown tape to wedding dresses.  He’s also done this with dresses on live models, but I like the mannekin version better. I think his point is made.

From philosophy to process to projection.  Let’s take the return trip.

PARIS FASHION WEEK Felipe Oliveira Baptista Spring 2013., Image Amplified (29)

Felipe Oliveira Baptista, Spring 2013 collection

One place to start is  with fashion.  The clothes we put on, of course, can be a way of projecting an image.  The dress designer  is image-maker.  Here’s a collage-like dress by the Portuguese designer Felipe Oliveira Baptista, who is creative director at Lacoste.  He has described his designs as “playful,” using the term “neo-androgyny.”

Felipe Oliveira Baptista, “Sharded Dress,” 2006

For an installation, Baptista deconstructed the pieces of two dresses, molded them, and laid them on a two dimensional surface, displayed as an artwork.  The dress loses a dimension, while the process of its construction is made more visible.

BUREAU BETAK and FELIPE OLIVEIRA BAPTISTA A screen to the brain28th International festival of Fashion and PhotographyFelipe Oliveira Baptista is delighted to present “A screen to the brain”, designed by Alexandre de Betak and produced by Bureau Betak with music design by Michel Gaubert.As part of the 28th International Festival of Fashion & Photography taking place in Hyères, France, Felipe Oliveira Baptista, president of the jury, is offering the audience an insight in to his brain. Alexandre de Betak designed the artistic installation to mark the 10th anniversary of Felipe Oliviera Baptista’s brand. The installation shows a variety of mixed media expressing the creative process of Felipe’s collections and work. 80 screens in the shape of a three-dimensional brain measuring 2m in diameter have been built in the empty swimming pool of the villa Noailles. These screens displays sketches, references, photographs, footage from previous shows, media reports and collages that will guide the viewer through multiple stories.The acclaimed designer won at the Festival d’Hyères in 2002 and is sharing for the first time his creative process after designing over 20 collections. Alexandre de Betak collaborates with Felipe to celebrate the10th year anniversary of Felipe’s brand creating an exciting retrospective to be shown at the MUDE in Lisbon in September. Showing for one month as a preview, a “A screen to the brain” will then travel to Lisbon to be one of the master pieces of the exhibition.

Alexandre de Betak and Felipe Oliveira Baptista, “A Screen to the Brain,” 2013

Baptista took this farther back for an installation at the International Festival of Fashion & Photography in Hyères, France.   Collaborating with Alexandre de Betak, the designer created a mixed-media piece to represent the “collage” of his mind.  Unlike Hirschhorn’s text-heavy Spinoza diagram or object-scattered floor, this is a Rube Goldberg contraption of video monitors and connecting wires.

Which of these images is more like how we think? Or do some people have a mind like a floor strewn with ephemera, while others have a mind like  CNN’s Situation Room?

Or does each person’s mind work in multiple ways, some functional, some not, some discordant, others harmonious?

What do you think? Or how?

Image Credits:  1) Puckette   2)  Schlossberg    3)  Hirschhorn  4) Hirschhorn

5) Hirschhorn   6) Baptista   7)  Baptista   8)  Baptista


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