David Lillington: Collage has sometimes been criticized for being nostalgic.
John Stezaker: ‘Nostalgic’ has been the standard put-down of collage over the past 30 years. For ‘nostalgic’ read: reactionary, backward-looking. But for me this lack of place for collage is what commends it: it is capable of subverting the cultural context it finds itself in. Collage, I think, is indeed a yearning for a lost world and reflects a universal sense of loss. (Writing about Jack Goldstein David Salle uses the phrase “nostalgia for the present” to describe that sense of exile from the ‘real’.) The best defense against the ‘nostalgia’ accusation is in Milan Kundera’s novel Ignorance. He points out that nostalgia is not a comfortable form of reverie but the opposite: it is a way of living with loss. It is not about an imaginary retrieval of the past but about the impossibility of return; a condition of exile.
-Collage: Assembling Contemporary Art
6 years ago