Spirit Now London live-visit of John Stezaker's exhibition 'At the edge of picture'
Updated: Mar 31, 2021
Spirit Now London and Luxembourg+Co Gallery
With Dr Yuval Etgar (curator of the exhibition)
and Alma de Luxembourg (director of the gallery)
Online event: 13 October 2020
At the Edge of Picture is the first exhibition to showcase the early work of British artist John Stezaker, focusing on his output from the years 1975–1990. At the Edge of Pictures: John Stezaker, Works 1975–1990 brings together prized and rarely seen collages, readymades and silkscreens produced by Britain’s most prolific collagist to coincide with the publication of a major monographic study of Stezaker’s work, authored by Oxford scholar Dr. Yuval Etgar and published by Koenig Books.
Featuring loans from public and private collections including the Tate collection,
London, and the Rubell Museum Collection, Florida, At the Edge of Pictures: John
Stezaker, Works 1975–1990 offers a rare opportunity to explore the artist’s pivotal role
in the history of collage and image appropriation from the 1970s to the present day.
The exhibition includes examples of Stezaker’s very first Inserts, Masks, and Tabula Rasa
collage cycles that came to define his mature work, as well as a selection of large-scale
silkscreens, some of which will be shown for the first time in Britain on this occasion.
An innovator and mentor to a generation of artists engaged in image appropriation
and collage making, Stezaker’s early work is marked by his rejection of the dominant
tendencies in Britain and the United States during the late 1970s towards agitprop
photomontage, largely informed by the legacy of the Dada movement and promoted
by anti-institutional punk and anarchist groups.
After a period of meaningful exchange with the US-based Pictures Generation artists
– such as Richard Prince, Sherrie Levine and Jack Goldstein – Stezaker decided to
distinguish himself from the group, focusing on a phenomenological investigation of
the mechanically reproduced image as a visual currency that was becoming outmoded,
finding its way out of circulation, and gradually making room for new technologies and
other forms of image distribution.
The exhibition at Luxembourg + Co. was developed in collaboration with The
Approach, London. The project’s aim is to offer visitors a rare opportunity to review
the work of John Stezaker through the lens of his most radical and experimental work
and to explore the context of his practice through a series of lectures, artist talks and
film screenings (live and online).
John Steaker is one of the most distinguished voices in the history of image-based collage. Since the 1970s Steaker's work has occupied a unique position in the face of radical changes in the economy of popular visual culture and its implications of the value of 'found' imagery in art. Steaker's work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions in major public institutions, including the National Portrait Gallery, London (2019); Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel (2013); the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University, St. Louis (2012); and the Whitechapel Gallery, London (2011), among others.
Dr. Yuval Etgar is a curator and art historian, specialising in the history and theory of collage and image appropriation. He is the Director of Research and Exhibitions at Luxembourg + Co., London, and Adjunct Curator at the Bauhaus Foundation, Tel Aviv. He holds a PhD in History and Theory of Contemporary Art from The Ruskin School of Art, Saint Edmund Hall, the University of Oxford, and an MA in Curatorial Studies from the Royal College of Art, London. Among his publications, Etgar is the author of 'John Stezaker: At the Edge of Pictures' (Buchhandlung Walther und Franz Koenig, 2020), and editor of the anthology 'The Ends of Collage' (Luxembourg & Dayan, 2017).