An exhibition responding to the idea of assemblage is being showcased in Manchester

‘Paper After All’ features collage, sculpture, painting, drawing, printmaking, video/animation, and multimedia elements.

By Emma Davidson | November 10th '22

Paper After All, an exhibition devised by Royal Cambrian Academy in Conwy, LLE in Cardiff, PAPER gallery and Saul Hay Gallery, has brought together a group of artists associated with each organisation for an open conversation around paper. 

The show features over 30 artists including Iain Andrews, Suzanne Bethell, Christopher Cook, Lisa Denyer, Mark Gibbs, Liam Hopkins, Steven Heaton, Martyn Lucas, Julia Midgley, Anthony Ratcliffe and Stephen Snoddy.  

Each artist involved has been asked to respond to the idea of assemblage – art that is made by assembling elements, often everyday objects, curated by the artist or bought specially in order to create a new body of work for the exhibition.

It’s a unique process that can be dated back to the Renaissance period through the practice of curating cabinets of curiosity brimming with oddities.

Over time, these practices filtered down to the regular use of the mantelpiece as a location of prized possessions. Objects of personal significance and status have appeared in art throughout history, and in the early part of the 20th Century, artists incorporated objects from popular culture into their actual work. 

For example, Braque and Picasso used collage in their Cubist works and Kurt Schwitters took this to a whole new level with his immersive Merz, a psychological collage of found fragments.

In the post-war years, artists incorporated popular culture images and objects into their world in order to question ideas of representation and reality in a media saturated globe. In developing an objectivist realism, pop art took assemblage to new extremes of scale and complexity. 

Paper After All is available to view at PAPER Gallery in Cheetham Hill until Saturday 17th December.

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