Assemblage is art that is made by assembling disparate elements often scavenged by the artist, sometimes bought specially

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  • Pablo Picasso, 'Still Life' 1914

    Pablo Picasso
    Still Life 1914
    Painted wood and upholstery fringe
    object: 254 x 457 x 92 mm
    Purchased 1969 Succession Picasso/DACS 2002

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  • Eileen Agar, 'Marine Object' 1939

    Eileen Agar
    Marine Object 1939
    Mixed media
    object: 420 x 340 x 230 mm
    Presented by the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1990 The estate of Eileen Agar

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  • Jake Chapman, Dinos Chapman, 'Little Death Machine (Castrated)' 1993

    Jake Chapman, Dinos Chapman
    Little Death Machine (Castrated) 1993
    Mixed media
    displayed: 1384 x 742 x 943 mm
    Presented anonymously 1997 Jake and Dinos Chapman

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The practice goes back to Pablo Picasso’s cubist constructions, the three dimensional works he began to make from 1912. An early example is his Still Life 1914 which is made from scraps of wood and a length of tablecloth fringing, glued together and painted. Picasso himself remained an intermittent practitioner of assemblage.

Assemblage was the basis of surrealist objects, became widespread in the 1950s and 1960s and continues to be extensively used, for example by the YBAs.