"In an image-saturated world, British collage artist John Stezaker rather creates more with less. Cutting up yesterday photographs, subtracting pieces, and juxtaposing faces, he transforms forgotten photographs and postcards into symbolic portraiture of modernism. Stezaker's artistic interests in examining hidden relations between images have bestowed international success and recognition upon him and his collage art. Gestalten.tv had a precious opportunity to speak with the artist at his exhibition in Berlin's Capitain Petzel Gallery."
"Turning to the term 'avant-garde' itself, it seems to have become a commonplace in our ways of thinking about art. Since the nineteenth century, its use has become widespread, designating any artistic movement that can be described as innovative. The term's fate is grounded in the relevance of its military metaphorics, which liken artistic invention to the actions of a small band of forces that sets off in advance of an army in order to clear its path. We thus strike upon several basic characteristics of the avant-garde: first, the notion that the avant-garde restores the collective dimension of explorative creativity. But the term also evokes the conditions of conflict that arise between this creativity and the prevailing society; at the same time, we must keep in mind that 'avant-garde' designates artistic activity as the means for opening up new territory.
The term's current problems arise from its social and economic valorization, which has become so important today that all artists want to be considered avant-garde—even though they generally consider the essential character of avant-gardism to involve little more than a spectacular revolution in form. The notion of avant-gardism subsequently takes on a different meaning than it had originally: it has come to signify a mindset of formal innovation, rather than a dedication to exploration and radical creativity that clashes with convention. Thus the positions of an entire range of so-called avant-gardes can be accommodated within an economic consensus that values formal innovation for reasons of competitiveness and profitability. At the same time, competitive rivalry leads to the disappearance of the collective dimension of innovative creativity which had been, no doubt, a fundamental characteristic of the avant-garde. We must therefore accept the idea that the very evolution of the avant-garde, which compels it to follow the trends of the market place, also brings about its death—a death to which the contemporary art market and institutional consensus alike seem fully determined have us bear witness by crowning its most ridiculous propositions with museum exhibitions. These preliminary remarks highlight the instability of terms such as 'avant-garde,' as far as artistic experience goes. For it is by no means clear that the term means the same thing for avant-garde of the first half of the twentieth century as it does for the avant-garde that followed."
(Philippe Sers and Jonathan P. Eburne, 2010, p.850)
The Radical Avant-Garde and the Contemporary Avant-Garde; Author(s): Philippe Sers and Jonathan P. Eburne; Source: New Literary History, Vol. 41, No. 4, What Is an Avant-Garde? (AUTUMN 2010), pp. 847-854. Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
"The documentary is inspired by the unpredictable events of recent times – from the rise of Donald Trump to Brexit, the war in Syria, the endless migrant crisis, and random bomb attacks. It seeks to explain both why these chaotic events are happening, and why we and our leaders can't understand them. Curtis's theory is that Westerners - politicians, journalists, experts and members of the public alike - have retreated into a simplified, and often completely fake version of the world. But because it is all-encompassing, we accept it as normal.
HyperNormalisation explores this hollow world by looking back at 40 years of events, and profiling a diverse cast of characters such as: the Assad dynasty, Donald Trump, Henry Kissinger, Patti Smith, the early performance artists in New York, President Putin, intelligent machines, Japanese gangsters and suicide bombers."
(Holly Barrett, 22nd September 2016, Royal Television Society)
"The savage deconstruction of the relationship between image and reality. 'Yes, Hello?', 'Look at that picture,' 'Does it seem to be persisting?', 'Good. Thank you'."
"The second US presidential debate was characterised by levels of vitriol never before seen on the US political stage.
But while millions of viewers across the world watched in horror as the Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton bloodied themselves over the Trump tapes, Clinton emails, tax, Syria and Obamacare, others saw the opportunity for humour.
Enter the memes.
The combination of microphones and roaming candidates, aided by the town hall-style of the debate in St Louis, proved fertile ground for imagining an alternate reality – one where Clinton and Trump were serenading each other.
As the debate ground on the #debatesongs hashtag spawned memes of the pair singing along to duets from Frozen, Grease and – probably most memorably – Dirty Dancing."
(Bonnie Malkin, 11 October 2016, Guardian Unlimited)