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2002/03 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

Assemblage - Collage - Bricolage
20 credits

Taught Semester 2,

Year running 2002/03

Pre-requisites MA core modules

Co-requisites MASS or other MA modules

This module is available as an elective

On completion of this module, students should be able to identify the critical and aesthetic issues and debates which assemblage and collage have raised. The module should provide them with extensive knowledge of an important aspect of art which has been extremely influential in 20th century art and culture. The aims objectives of this module are to consider the origins, theoretical frameworks, history and continuing significance of assemblage as sculptural idiom. It will commence with an analysis of theoretical material which might inform a reading of assemblage and by exploring the role and significance of the found object in 20th century culture. Various methods of enquiry will be adopted, including the close reading of selected theoretical texts, field research visits, the critical examination of specific objects and case studies.

In 1961, in the exhibition catalogue for 'The Art of the Assemblage', William Seitz wrote that the vernacular repertoire of 'assemblage' included '?beat Zen and hot rods, mescalin experiences and faded flowers, photographic bumps and grinds, the 'poubelle' (i.e. trash can), juke boxes and hydrogen explosions'. Since the 1960s, a collage approach has come to be viewed as an integral element of post-modern culture. The history of assemblage offers a counter to conventional histories of sculpture as a 20th century artform. With these points in mind, this module will bring together the close-knit 'bricolage' of aesthetic and cultural processes and practices that relate to assemblage, with a focus on the history and development of the idiom in art and culture in the 20th century. The history of assemblage, prefigured by collage techniques, will be traced through the critical study of a series of key movements and developments from early Cubist papiers-colles, Dada and Kurt Schwitters' environmental collages to post-war developments in Europe and the United States in the 1950s and 60s, focusing on the work of Jean Dubuffet, Nouveau Realism, Arte Povera, Junk Culture and West Coast Funk and the expansion of assemblage into Environments, Performance and Happenings. The course will concurrently consider the socio-political contexts and sociological issues arising from collage/assemblage techniques and will also examine the ways in which poetry, cinema, fictional writing and improvised music have shared in this common language at particular junctures.

Form of teaching
Seminars: 11 x 2 hours

Form of assessment
1 x 4000-6000 word essay

Undergraduate Module Catalogue | Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

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