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Since the late 19th century, photographers have honed their craft to expose social and political truths existing in their surroundings. The use of collage has expanded on this exploration by allowing artists to reconfigure, cut and fragment photos to create entirely new images and conversations

Utopia/Dystopia: Construction and Destruction in Photography and Collage, a new exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston (MFAH), features 150 years of collage, as well as photomontages and moving images, to present “alternative realities” of utopia or dystopia.

The exhibit has more than 100 works, from as early as the 1860s to the present, with origins spanning Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe. The show is organized around three themes: urban visions, figure construction and the quest for a utopian world, and contains pieces drawn from four museums and private holdings.

Utopia/Dystopia is the brainchild of MFAH associate photography curator, Yasufumi Nakamori. “In breaking and reassembling found images to create a new vision, artists have found collage and montage ideal for expressing utopian dreams and dystopian anxieties,” said Nakamori. Featured artists include El Lissitzky, Okanoue Toshiko, Herbert Bayer, Matthew Buckingham, Tom Thayer, among others, and although their work stems from different artistic movements—from Dada to Constructivism—all the artists embrace the compelling process of photography construction and destruction.

Utopia/Dystopia will be on display through June 10 as part of the FotoFest 2012 Biennial, the largest international photography festival in the U.S. 

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In the early 20th century, around the time cars filled our streets, planes found their way into our skies and cameras began to capture our daily life, we started to see space being cut up and transformed in art works. Inextricably linked to this rise of modern technology, collage art took on a new role. While once strictly fantastical, now collage could be utilized to visually pull together reality-based images of day-to-day life. In keeping with the fast pace of 20th-century life, multiple ideas could now exist within one frame.

This new way of creating photo collages took many forms in the past hundred years—seen most distinctly in the works of the Surrealists in the 1920s and the pop artists in the 1960s. Today’s generation of photo collage artists use everything from found images on the Internet and historical reportage to references appropriated from mass global media. Dutch artist Ruth van Beek’s newest book and installment of photo collages, Hibernators, represents this new direction of collage art.

Van Beek uses found photographs, amateur family photographs, newspaper clippings and magazine tears in her work, in which she tries to create something that never existed before. “I try to make the animals come to life again by cutting and folding the paper,” she says. “I restrain them in a new shape. This way I turn them into creatures that are silent like stones, but are also showing a tension.”

Van Beek’s work represents a more controlled, more intimate breed of collage work. Hibernators cuts and folds common domestic pets and animals into creatures that exist somewhere between photography and collage. Through van Beek’s handy work, the facial features of the animals are often removed—further abstracting them from a sense of space. With the loss of distinguishing features, the altered animals begin to take on new identities.

The Hibernators was published this month by RVB books.

Ruth van Beek graduated from the renowned Gerrit Rietveld Academie in 2002. She has shown her collage work both in her native Netherlands, as well as throughout Europe and North America.

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The Incal Classic Collection

Just want to say that this book is out. Again.

It was released previously in deluxe slipcase edition Dec 2010 and went out of stock quickly, very typical when you see Moebius' name on the cover.

So this new edition doesn't come with the slipcase, but is more affordable, and more importantly, available.

The colours are well restored from the original series, and the story is enjoyable. It really reminds me of the movie The Fifth Element, not the plot, but the overall feel of how a sci-fi world is like.

One of comics' greatest masterpieces illustrated by Moebius and written by Alexandro Jodorowsky. Together they present the classic adventure of sci-fi detective John Difool, a low class detective in a corrupt world. With the great darkness attacking the galaxy, John Difool races through the cosmos with his companions, which include his pet concrete bird, Deepo, and the Universe's greatest warrior, the Metabaron. - Amazon product description.

The Incal Classic Collection is available at Amazon.com currently.

The Incal Classic Collection

The Incal Classic Collection

The Incal Classic Collection

The Incal Classic Collection

The Incal Classic Collection

The Incal Classic Collection

The Incal Classic Collection

The Incal Classic Collection

The Incal Classic Collection

The Incal Classic Collection

The Incal Classic Collection

Visit Amazon to check out more reviews.

If you buy from any links on the blog, I get a little commission that helps me get more art books to feature.

This book is available at:
Amazon.com

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