Cut and Paste: 400 Years of Collage is the first survey exhibition of collage ever to take place in Britain. Collage is often described as a twentieth-century invention, but this show spans a period of more than 400 years and includes more than 250 works.
A huge range of approaches is on show, from sixteenth-century anatomical ‘flap prints’, to computer-based images; work by amateur, professional and unknown artists; collages by children and revolutionary cubist masterpieces by Pablo Picasso and Juan Gris; from nineteenth century do-it-yourself collage kits to collage films of the 1960s. Highlights include a three-metre-long folding collage screen, purportedly made in part by Charles Dickens; a major group of Dada and Surrealist collages, by artists such as Kurt Schwitters, Joan Miró, Hannah Höch and Max Ernst; and major postwar works by Henri Matisse, Robert Rauschenberg, and Peter Blake, including the only surviving original source photographs for Blake’s and Jann Haworth's iconic, collaged cover for the Beatles’ album Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
The importance of collage as a form of protest in the 1960s and 70s will be shown in the work of feminist artists such as Carollee Schneemann, Linder and Hannah Wilke; Punk artists, such as Jamie Reid, whose original collages for the Sex Pistols' album and posters will feature; and the famously subversive collages of Monty Python founder Terry Gilliam. The exhibition also features the legendary library book covers which the playwright Joe Orton and his lover Kenneth Halliwell doctored with collages, and put back on Islington Library’s shelves – a move which landed them in prison for six months. In addition, the exhibition also demonstrates how collage remains important for the practice of many artists working today. Owing to the fragility of much of the work, the exhibition will not tour: it can only be seen at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh.