Cut and Paste @ Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

Modern Two hosts a breathtaking survey of the history of collage, centring it at the heart of radical politics and artistic innovation

Review by Eilidh Wilson | 07 Aug 2019
  • Anonymous Baby for Cut and Paste at Modern Two

The first surveyed collection of collage ever to be displayed, Cut and Paste is a timeline of artworks that reveal the continuity of the art form through the most pivotal moments in modern art.

The artworks are grouped into art periods; however, inspiration and style blur these lines. While walking through 400 years of collages, the works on display range from serving a functional purpose of editing into the early 19th century to being a tool for a conceptual change in art in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Arriving at the more contemporary examples, collage makes an appearance on the music scene. Collage album covers for The Beatles and the Sex Pistols become the face of the change in music. The stick and paste medium becomes the DIY aesthetic of radical ideas and thinking. The creative scene was full of a community of artists who dare to be different, and the password was collage.

Cut and Paste delivers a series of artworks that are diverse, and the versatility and vigour of each selected piece warrants your attention. Throughout the exhibition, the visual commentary of the collection strikes you on a personal level, as the carefully worded accompaniments offer an insight into the artists’ inspiration from both art and society.

While the approach of the works varies, Cut and Paste exposes the role of collage as a conspirator for experimentation and new ideas in politics, society and art, that go way beyond traditional conventions. It’s hard not to be awestruck by the artists in this collection and the role they have played in art history; Cut and Paste is undoubtedly the name-dropper of the summer. 

Cut and Paste, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern Two), until 27 Oct, £7.50-13