Cut and paste
Cut and paste
Chapter 1 considers the mechanisms of breaks and continuities in the history of photocollage with regard to gender, genre and locations of display. Collage is commonly celebrated as a twentieth-century art form invented by Dada artists in the 1910s. Yet there was already a vibrant culture of making photocollages in Victorian Britain. From an art historical perspective this can be interpreted as an expression of typical modernist amnesia. The default stance of the early twentieth century’s avant-garde was to be radically, ground-breakingly new and different from any historical precursors. However, there is, when turning to the illustrated press, also a trajectory of continuity and withholding of traditions in the history of photocollage. This chapter has two parts. The first includes a critical investigation of the writings on the history of photocollage between the 1970s and 2010s, focusing on the arguments and rationales of forgetting and retrieving those nineteenth-century forerunners. It includes examples of amnesia and recognition and revaluation. The second is a close study of a number of images that appear in Victorian albums produced between 1870 and 1900 and their contemporary counterparts in the visual culture of illustrated journals and books.
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