Enrico Baj, Fire! Fire! 1963–4 . Tate . © Enrico Baj

Room 2 in Materials and Objects

Collage

Man Ray, Emak Bakia  1926, remade 1970

Emak Bakia is made from the neck of a cello and loose horse hair. Man Ray found the original cello piece in a fleamarket. As it looked old, he felt the urge to point humorously to its age and gave it flowing white hair – the horse hair that would be used in a bow. The hair gives the piece a disconcerting vitality. The title comes from an experimental film or ’cine-poem’ of the same name that Man Ray made in 1926. In the Basque language it means ’leave me alone’.

Gallery label, October 2016

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artworks in Collage

Enrico Baj, Fire! Fire!  1963–4

Baj’s works were influenced by the absurd humour and unconventional techniques of surrealism and dada. He was also associated with CoBrA, a group of European artists who adopted a highly expressionist painting style inspired by children’s art. In the mid-1950s Baj started painting caricatured figures on found fabrics, adding details made from collaged objects. In Fire! Fire! pieces of Meccano construction toys form a figure, while the leaves on the woven fabric are suggestive of flames. Other works of this period poke fun at ideas of power and authority, such as Baj’s portraits of military officers ‘decorated’ with real medals.

Gallery label, November 2021

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artworks in Collage

Joan Miró, The Tightrope Walker  1970

Miró often used discarded materials, some of them discovered in the foundry. His aim was to create what he called an ‘unlikely marriage of recognisable forms’. The body of the tightrope walker is made from a child's doll, cast into bronze. The base on which it rests is the cone through which the bronze was poured, while the nails originally held the mould together. The mottled and textured surface results from acid deposits left by the casting process. Each of these elements has an expressive role within the sculpture which, like much of Miró's work, combines humour with suggestions of violence.

Gallery label, July 2013

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artworks in Collage

Burhan Dogançay, Yankees and Beatles  1964

Doğançay’s long term project focused on the texture of New York City’s walls. He made Yankees and Beatles in the year in which the Liverpool band’s sell-out concerts conquered the United States. The Beatles’s sudden popularity found expression on the streets of the city. This confirmed Doğançay’s view that: ‘You can tell more about a country by observing its walls than … by looking at its flag.’ Using a variety of collage techniques for Happy New Year and Hum, he captured the texture of graffitied and fly-posted surfaces. On these surfaces and walls, official messages were often subverted by anonymous comments.

Gallery label, June 2021

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artworks in Collage

Burhan Dogançay, Happy New Year  1972

Doğançay’s long term project focused on the texture of New York City’s walls. He made Yankees and Beatles in the year in which the Liverpool band’s sell-out concerts conquered the United States. The Beatles’s sudden popularity found expression on the streets of the city. This confirmed Doğançay’s view that: ‘You can tell more about a country by observing its walls than … by looking at its flag.’ Using a variety of collage techniques for Happy New Year and Hum, he captured the texture of graffitied and fly-posted surfaces. On these surfaces and walls, official messages were often subverted by anonymous comments.

Gallery label, June 2021

5/9
artworks in Collage

Burhan Dogançay, Hum  1973

Doğançay’s long term project focused on the texture of New York City’s walls. He made Yankees and Beatles in the year in which the Liverpool band’s sell-out concerts conquered the United States. The Beatles’s sudden popularity found expression on the streets of the city. This confirmed Doğançay’s view that: ‘You can tell more about a country by observing its walls than … by looking at its flag.’ Using a variety of collage techniques for Happy New Year and Hum, he captured the texture of graffitied and fly-posted surfaces. On these surfaces and walls, official messages were often subverted by anonymous comments.

Gallery label, June 2021

6/9
artworks in Collage

Louise Nevelson, Untitled No. 34  1980

In the late 1950s, Nevelson began to make sculptures out of materials she found on the streets of New York City. She was inspired by items others had overlooked. She inserted these found objects into boxes she built into free-standing walls. The works shown here were made in the 1980s. By this time she was using material that had accumulated in her studio. Her process was instinctive: ‘I never … have pre-conceived ideas as to what I am going to do. Each piece is a complete and separate piece of creation.’

Gallery label, September 2019

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artworks in Collage

Louise Nevelson, Untitled No. 16  1983

In the late 1950s, Nevelson began to make sculptures out of materials she found on the streets of New York City. She was inspired by items others had overlooked. She inserted these found objects into boxes she built into free-standing walls. The works shown here were made in the 1980s. By this time she was using material that had accumulated in her studio. Her process was instinctive: ‘I never … have pre-conceived ideas as to what I am going to do. Each piece is a complete and separate piece of creation.’

Gallery label, September 2019

8/9
artworks in Collage

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Carol Rama, Black Phase  1974

In the early 1970s Rama began to use rubber inner tubes and electric wires in her collages. Based in the industrial city of Turin, Italy, she produced many works using materials associated with mass production. Rama was aware of 1960s and 70s art movements which experimented with industrial materials and simplified forms, such as minimalism or Italy’s arte povera. However, the manufacturing references in works such as Black Phase relate instead to Rama’s various childhood experiences. Her family ran a small-scale car and bicycle factory which was forced to close, leading to a time of significant upheaval. The black fabric areas in her rubber collages hint at dark times in the artist’s life.

Gallery label, November 2021

9/9
artworks in Collage

Art in this room

T07959: Emak Bakia
Man Ray Emak Bakia 1926, remade 1970
T01777: Fire! Fire!
Enrico Baj Fire! Fire! 1963–4
T03402: The Tightrope Walker
Joan Miró The Tightrope Walker 1970
T14959: Yankees and Beatles
Burhan Dogançay Yankees and Beatles 1964
T14960: Happy New Year
Burhan Dogançay Happy New Year 1972
T14961: Hum
Burhan Dogançay Hum 1973

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