Collage presumes a non-linear interpretation, as well as simultaneous and circular imagery. It emerges from the point at which desire and freedom hold sway [...] the sense of beauty that is sought is that defined by the surrealists: a break with past conventions and with rational thought.
We use objects found by chance and re-imagine them in new contexts in order to create new encounters capable of expanding knowledge beyond the boundaries of immediate and everyday reality. It is from the affinity of the subject-artist with the subject-object that the choice is made. There is no deliberate search; rather it happens by chance, precisely when we give in to abandon. The Chinese call this direct perception kuan (contemplation without concentrated attention). This method resembles that of the heron, motionless at the edge of a lake gazing at the water. Although it does not appear to be looking for a fish, when one comes along the heron plunges for it.
This is what happens when we gather an object to be integrated into a collage. When we open a drawer, circumnavigate the flea-market, or simply wander, certain elements catch our eye. Hardly majestic, these materials present us with a challenge. Like an alchemist who creates gold from base metals, we seek to extract the marvelous from these discarded objects that are marked by the attrition of time. And incidentally, it is this "ignoble" matter that the anonymous alchemist quoted by Eugene Canseliet expressed as "Light arising from itself out of the darkness."
To work with collage is to reject the smooth, familiar roadways of conventional life, an to venture into the wilderness. As the "already seen" objects and clippings that constitute our materials are liberated from their original constraints, the physical limitations of these scraps and fragments are transcended in the very act of creating new revelations that call into question the hegemony of the habitual.
-Ivanir de Oliveira*
*translated from the Portuguese by Nicole M. Knight
De Oliveira, Ivanir. "Collage: Image of Revelation" Surrealist Women: An International Anthology, edited by Penelope Rosemont, University of Texas Press, 1998, (445-446).