John Stezaker: The collage of subtraction

In this interview by, British artist John Stezaker talks about the "universal amnesia" created by visual culture and how his art subverts it.

Artist John Stezaker finds today's digital culture depressing for its lack of materiality and the extreme visual saturation it has lead to.

"I felt there were too many images in the world already. I didn't want to add any new ones – it was interesting to look at the ones we already had," he says.

That is why his work is centred on using existing images and the act of subtracting and hiding rather than addition. In his collages, Stezaker appropriates images found in books, magazines and postcards and uses them as ‘readymades’. He juxtaposes these images, adopting both the content and contexts of the original images to convey his own witty and poignant meanings.

For me this is a way to reflect on the vantage point of the consumer, rather than the producer of images, he explains.

"It is a filtering out process; it is what you remove. That is why most of my process when it comes to collages is about subtraction, taking things away, hiding things to engage the images in a sort of meditative relationship."