John Stezaker (b. 1949 in Worcester, England) surreal conceptual artist, works using collage and the appropriation of pre-existing images such as postcards, film stills, and publicity photographs.
John Stezaker is fascinated by the power of images and questions the authority of pictures found in books, magazines, postcards and encyclopaedias by directly intervening into their ordinary status. Through the handcrafted act of splicing together, inverting, or simply adjusting an image Stezaker embarks upon ‘a process that cuts it off from its disappearance into the everyday world’.
This fascination is translated into alterations, deletions, visual concordances and juxtapositions of disparate sources, intuitively creating new images, relationships, characters and meanings. Stezaker’s investigations continue to develop in this exhibition of new works that concentrate specifically on the portrait. In the ‘Love’ series, subtle but masterful alterations to found original film star portraits shift and magnify emotion and expression that had before only been implied, sometimes imperceptibly, in the original image. The glamorous and carefully posed faces are subtly transformed into otherworldly, uncanny beings. Playing with ideas of cubism and caricature, Stezaker’s series of black and white portraits fuse male and female faces, reflecting the idea of marriage and hybrid symmetry, but also a discord of union.