Saturday, May 31, 2008

Yellow Paper

I love old paper with that lovely aged patina, brittle feel and the dog-eared corners. It seems to hide such great stories and adventures. I fell in love with collage and old papers when the Surrealist exhibition hit town when I was 16 – I loved it! And, despite the entry cost, I went many, many times. My favourites were Kurt Schwitters, Max Ernst, Joseph Cornell and Picasso – I loved their collages and, most of all, I loved the wonderful old paper they used!

Kurt Schwitters, Aphorism 1923, Joseph Cornell Untitled (American Rabbit), c. 1945-46, Max Ernst Listonosz Cheval 1932.

I wonder, though, whether these works would’ve looked so ‘delicious’ on the day they were made? The paper would not have had that yellowed, old-fashioned look … and they would’ve been made with contemporary bits of ephemera that people were familiar with. I wonder whether most of my love of these collages comes because of their age and nostalgic sense. It’s true that you can’t artificially ‘age’ a piece of paper or other ephemera so that it looks authentic (all through my uni days I tried … and tried!) – you just have to wait, be patient and collect the little treasures as they come your way!

I have a gorgeous little hard-covered sketch book that a dear friend gave me that I have done quite a few little collages in. Here’s one I made recently using and old National Geographic image, a little playing card and a bit of Chinese joss paper … it doesn’t yet have that lovely nostalgic yellow ... maybe in a few decades?!


Hey Harriet said...

I love old paper also. I even love the smell of it! Hey I like your sketch book collage...& I recognise the joss paper on the right hand side. I have that one. We may buy our joss paper at the same asian store! Chinatown? I'm always stopping in there to stock up. On joss paper & Chinese egg tarts :)

Ali said...

Harriet - love the old paper smell too!! (and Chinese supermarkets!)

Hot Fudge said...

Hi Ali

Your collage is marvellous. I know what you mean about old papers and magazines. For me it's Saturday Evening Post - I was practically raised on it. And don't worry; if you like old things you will LOVE Harrison!

ellie said...

Hi, I'm really glad that you jumped in and started your blog. You're going to have fun with this virtual scrapbooking!
I love Joseph Cornell too - quite a big inspiration for me during highschool.
I've been seeing lots of little scraps of decaying, yellowing, rained-on papers lying around the streets lately. I want to pick them up and feel the history, and give them a future (other than decomposing in the gutter), but I know that they'll just turn into piles of junk at my house.
Your little brooches and rings are so cute - and does it matter that they are paper and won't last very long. Fashion is so fickle anyway.

Enjoy your blogging!