“Garbage Architecture” as noted by Martin Pawley, Cornell University


Joseph Cornell, Untitled (The Eden Hotel), 1945

When experimenting with materials, the performance of collage is a primary mode of creation and expression. This performance entails the gathering of different materials and assembling them in such a way that each material is recognizable within the context of the whole. For example, a house that is composed of a stone foundation and a wooden framework is a collage of the two materials. In this case each material retains its identity, character, and function within the whole. As noted by Lydia Kallipoliti, “this syllogism of bringing fragments together and interrogating their newly formed relationships in new assemblages constitutes a prime artistic revolution for the twentieth century.”(1)  The results of the collage method can be seen in the work of artist Joseph Cornell, whose assemblages depict intriguing material and artifact relationships. 

The performance of collage can also be seen in the creation of what Martin Pawley calls ‘Garbage Architecture’. In this example, collage is considered a necessary method of survival as it serves the purpose of creating dwelling spaces from discarded materials. Regardless of its application, whether in modern art or simple shelter, the performance of collage takes materials through a process of translation, where new meaning and importance is given to them through combination and juxtaposition. 


1. Kallipoliti, Lydia. “Dross; on the onset of a post-production era.” 

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