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COLLAGE (from the French: coller, "to glue" or "to stick together") is a technique of art making, primarily used in the visual arts, but also in music and writing too, in which different materials and forms are assembled to create a single work.  Often disparate materials and images are brought together in unexpected and illogical ways, creating interesting worlds that generate new and subversive meaning.

A collage can be made up of magazine and newspaper clippings, packaging, labels, fabric, bits of coloured or handmade papers, portions of other artwork or texts, photographs and other found objects, glued to a piece of paper or canvas. The origins of collage can be traced back hundreds of years, but this technique made a dramatic reappearance in the early 20th century when it became a distinctive part of modern art, pioneered by artists such as Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso who coined the term Papier collé  (paper collage).  

This short film from the National Galleries Scotland explores the history of collage, looking at how this technique of cutting and pasting predates the Cubists and Modernism, and can be found as far back as 200 BC with the invention of paper in China.

PHOTOMONTAGE is a collage constructed from photographs. It is the process and the result of making a composite photograph by cutting, gluing, rearranging and overlapping two or more photographs into a new image. Sometimes the resulting composite image is photographed so that the final image may appear as a seamless physical print. A similar method, although one that does not use film, is realized today through image-editing software.

Historically photomontage was often used as a means of expressing political dissent. It was first used as a technique by the dadaists in 1915 in their protests against the First World War.

CLICK HERE to read WIDEWALLS article What Is Photomontage - The Definition and History.

Below you'll find examples of collage and photomontage from pioneers such as Kurt Schwitters, Georges Braques, Hannah Hoch, John Heartfield, Matisse and Eileen Agar along with more contemporary works by artists such as Richard Hamilton, David Hockney, Martha Rosler, Kara Walker and Wangechi Mutu.

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