Now entering its final weeks (ending 27th October) the Cut and Paste Exhibition at Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is a must-see. Its generous, inclusive take on collage extends its scope and reach, liberating the practice from the the familiar art history Cubist-Dada nexus.
Collage is identified with paper, but we encounter fabrics, leathers, ceramics plastics and even steel as the exhibition moves us from 16th century China, through various early modern precursors and wildly inventive 19th century vernacular detournements by predominantly female artists and makers.
Commerce and production are the common denominators of all these phenomena; the devilry of idle hands, cheap materials and unselfconscious media literacy. By the time we come to the expected displays of twentieth century modern art pieces, we are blinking in the muted light, overcome at the diversity and energy of collage as a form. To paraphrase Picasso post-Lascaux; ‘he invented nothing’.
Cut and Paste concludes (as the title suggests) in the hyper-disruptive realm of social media, ably represented by Cold War Steve MacFadyen’s clip-artful photomontage of A Brexit beach Party, carefully hung – that is, pasted – just by the gift shop.