John Stezaker's (b. 1949, Worcester, UK; lives and works in London) collages are created manually via procedures of inversion, composition, cutting and removal applied to fixed media images—film stills, portraits of movie stars, landscape postcards. Most of the collages in the exhibition were created during the past two years and are shown here for the first time, alongside ten tiny images from an image bank entitled The 3rd Person Archive, which Stezaker has culled consistently since 1976. Stezaker's utterance—with its blurry images, their old materiality, and modest dimensions—is a channel of cultural resistance to the sweeping unification of the image flux in the media; an attempt to reconstruct that which was lost to the gaze in a visual culture founded entirely on excess, flickering, and flattening.
For the current exhibition, Stezaker created a banner, a version of a collage which is not featured in it (Untitled, 1987). The text-less banner, essentially founded on a photographic image whose origin is unknown, inserted between other banners whose images are ascribed and lucid, subverts the edicts of clarity, serving as an apt introduction to a show whose exhibits tempt one to prolonged observation and examination of detail.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue delving into different aspects in Stezaker's work through essays which either peruse his entire oeuvre (Irith Hadar) or focus on a single work (Dalit Matatyahu), and through the artist's own discussion of his work in a conversation with Christophe Gallois and Daniel F. Herrmann held before his exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery (2011; courtesy of Whitechapel Gallery and Ridinghouse, London). Furthermore, the catalogue contains images of all the works in the exhibition.
The catalogue was produced in collaboration with Ridinghouse, London