What’s in Béa’s head

By Béa Aaronson

Life itself is a collage! When you think of it… All of our little and big moments, experiences, all of our emotions, thoughts and actions, scattered through space and time…They hang in there, waiting to make sense, and what do we do to give them sense? We cut and glue — metaphorically that is — we re-organize, disorganize, edit and paste…We “re-member” to create the collage of life. And it does not have to make sense all the time… Nonsense is beautifully refreshing! We look at the depth, the textures, shapes and colors of these moments, experiences, emotions, thoughts and actions, we look and more or less consciously, we harmonize them, re-energize them and create the multifaceted and multilayered beauty of our lives, with all they contain of joy, sorrow, pleasure, pain, anger, compassion, violence and peace.

“What’s in Béa’s Head”
An exhibition of collages, photo-collages, assemblages and welded sculptures
Fri, Mar 21, 5-8pm
Sat, Mar 22-Mon, Mar 24, noon-5pm
La Ostra Roja
A casa verde annex
San Jorge 45
Colonia San Antonio (off Refugio Sur)

Since childhood, when we were given scissors that did not cut too well, bits of paper, magazines and coloring books, and this marvelous little pot de colle (French for glue, which gave the name collage), this little pot of glue that smelled like sweet candy, and which we deliciously spread with a flat little spoon, we instantly knew what to do. We cut, not always along the lines, pasted and glued. What joy! It is this joy I am feeling again, some 50 years later, as I painstakingly cut out thousands of images, with very sharp tiny scissors — I call this process “exquisite surgery” — cutting along the shapes or randomly across, to create “mis-meanings.” Sometimes I tear them; I love the furry edges, they enhance life. I then let all these cut torn-outs enjoy their new life in numerous trays where they dance together, before I pick up a few, sometimes through choice, sometimes through chance, and create my ludic imaginings, which I may choose to glue on prints, photographs, painted canvas or virgin paper. It all depends on my mood. Photo-collages are just a technological extension-expansion of the hand cut process.

Assemblages are simply collages in three dimensions. The ingredients differ: wood, metal, ceramics, a bit of this, a bit of that, discarded or found objects, my hair, bones, twigs, glass eyes, anything works as long as it can weather well. They may present themselves on flat substrates, which you can hang like a painting, or become wall and freestanding sculptures. I use nails, screws and epoxy to sustain their weight. When I weld, the same process vibrates in my head and hands. I collect hundreds of metal pieces, from tiny to very big, some figurative, some non-figurative, and I lay them on my floor (it’s a big floor!). They talk to one another and begin to talk to me too. Then again, choice and chance choreograph my creative energies and I begin to weld.

In all cases, it is the resulting image that counts. The image or images that are being born exorcize my emotions, my fears, my nightmares, but they also live out my dreams. It’s all in the head before it materializes into a visual art object. Sometimes I have a concept which I try to follow and implement. Sometimes I let my unconscious do the dancing, or I let the pieces choose for me. Totally invigorating!

Collage is the most liberating art form. There are absolutely no rules, no right or wrong. It is you, your imagination and the ingredients. The inspiration knows no boundaries and that is why it is so therapeutically empowering. In history of art, we encounter numerous collage artists, beginning with Braque and Picasso and their Cubist papiers collés, to the Dada and Surrealist creators who used collage to vent their political and emotional issues. Kurt Schwitters, Hannah Höch, Raoul Hausmann, John Heartfield, are among my favorites. Today, the art of collage is used in publicity, movies, music. There is less and less glueing and scissoring alas, but the idea of connecting fragments that are not always connectable, the idea of startling-destabilizing the mind and its limited logic perception remains in all its glory.

In this humble exhibition of my collaged, assembled imaginings, you will see images that ooze poetical eroticism, serious and humoristic surrealism, expressionism, esthetic constructivism as well as socio-political alerting visual shouts. Whether figurative or not, I invite to discover what’s in my head. You will be amused, provoked, maybe even moved. But one thing is sure, you will not be bored!

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