High was the Sky, 2006, mixed media, décollage,
198 x 198 cm
Mauerpark, 2006, Mischtechnik, Décollage,
150 x 202 cm
Miles Davis gewidmet, 2008, mixed media, décollage,
181 x 348 cm
|Sam Grigorian: Calculated happenstance
The collage originates from the beginning of the 20th Century. It is now impossible to imagine two-dimensional art without this form of artistic expression up there among the paintings, drawings and prints. It is easy to draw a comparison between this layer-by-layer construction and the time-honoured principles of painting. Paper is to collage
what paint is to paintings. Working in reverse is the course also possible. Scratching away, reducing, eliminating the material once it has been assembled. Every Western child has at one time or another had a go at doing this. First colour in a sheet of paper with wax crayon, add another layer of colour on top black for example to hide the ground colour, and then scratch away parts of the black layer with a very sharp tool; you will be amazed at the effect. When this technique is applied to an assembled collage the décollage is born.
Works such as High was the Sky and Mauerpark (both from 2008) have not only because of the chosen titles a scenic-geographical undertone. The patchwork of the former has a lot in common with an aerial photograph of an intricate pattern of land parcels and beneath the colourful stripes of Mauerpark a diagrammatic rendering of a park appears to be concealing itself. Another piece like Miles Davis gewidmet (2008) is more abstract and is possibly an allusion, in a style and title, to a famous predecessor: Piet Mondrian, whose Victory Boogie Woogie materialized with the help of adhesive tape.
Grigorian affixes and tears away. He foods back edges, overlaps and lays bare. He knows what awaits him below the surface. Perhaps not exactly, but when he conjures up the parts that have lain dormant, it is as he puts it calculated happenstance. Whether it is collage or décollage, Grigorian gets to grips with the matter.
Frank van der Ploeg, art historian