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10 Questions with Dennis Busch

The Co-Editor of The Age of Collage Vol. 2 Explains How Collaging Is Like Plastic Surgery

Posted by Gestalten—02/2016

Artist Dennis Busch works mainly in collages. As a co-editor of both The Age of Collage and our recent release The Age of Collage Vol. 2, Busch has kept his finger on the pulse of contemporary collaging. We spoke to him about collaging’s past, present, and future. Read the interview below and browse our latest compendium here. 

What is appealing about collage as an art form? 

In a collage, it is possible to visualize new ways and forms of thinking and feeling. The collage technique is the perfect tool for an artist to push things right through the walls of time: yesterday, today, and tomorrow can be mixed into one strange brew. You can create a decomposition of time and space. It reflects so many parts of the sample-based generation that we are forced to live in. 

What are the most important things to consider when making a collage?

I think one of the main positions of collage making is to cross boundaries and to connect them. I think it’s sometimes important to make the changes quickly—sometimes in double-time. Now is the time for a total blitz of seeing things, forms, shapes, and feeling. 

Where do you find your source images and do you have any favorite sources of inspiration? 

I am a book butcher. I take whatever I want. All images are free; I take every single piece that I want. A collage artist creates new worlds and a collage artist needs to take whatever he wants. Copyrights are bullshit! I am inspired by everything I feel and–sometimes–everything that I see. 

If you could collaborate with anyone, who would you choose to work with? 

I have no specific artist that I’d like to collaborate with. I’d love to meet Wallace Berman because I like his beard and would like to invite him over for a cup of tea.

What makes an image a good candidate to be included in a collage? What characteristics or qualities do you pay attention to? 

The handmade cuts are very important. Like modern plastic surgery, it is a delight to connect forms. The physical cut enables a fast and intuitive way to divide the various realities in a world based on their appearance. 

Whereas some collage artists smooth the boundaries between images, many of your pieces feature unconventional angles, edges, and overlaps. What role does composition play in your work?

I let myself be gently overwhelmed by the pictures. I want to work with the consciousness of irresponsibility, letting go of something that cannot be released, and holding on to something that flows away like quicksand in the ephemeral hands of time. My collages are hand-cut and pasted. A Dennis Busch collage that starts off as a swimwear vendor at the North Pole may indeed become a gravedigger at the end of an exploding rainbow.

You co-edited both the first and second volume of The Age of Collage. As over two years passed between their respective publication dates, what has changed and how has collage as an art form progressed?

There are so many tremendous changes going on in the contemporary collage scene today. There's more participation, courage and more different styles blooming since the first volume of The Age of Collage appeared in 2013. It was a delight to select the artists for the second book. I thought the time was alright for such a project. It was important for me to show a wide range of distinctive styles and to show as many different positions as possible to keep inspiring new collage artists. The collage is here to stay—forever!

Many collage artists use images from decades past. What is the relationship between collaging and time?

Collage is the perfect tool to re-orientate oneself within time and space. Shaking the kaleidoscope of the imagination leads you to redefine oneself, entering into a new world. What happens is something of a time leap out of the present, full throttle into the past, before arriving in a future. 

How has the advent of new technology changed the way people are approaching, making, and thinking about collages? 

A door is thought to open where there had not previously been one. Generally the people are more open for new ways and forms. I am not against the digitalization of visions, and there is still a hype around the handmade. This corresponds to the idea of wanting to position oneself as the body's own universal desired instrument without the help of electronic tools.

What new developments can we expect to see as time passes and collaging grows and develops?

Let’s ask our cosmic mentalist. Time will tell!

Images © Dennis Busch