QUESTIONS OF OWNERSHIP
As if Kanye West didn't think he was a piece of art already, German collage artist Brian de Graft literally turned him into one. Practicing collage since 2013, he had his first solo exhibition in 2015. Despite his short career, he has already made quite a big impression with his series “Add yellow” in which he added pieces of yellow paper to images cut out from magazines and books. As both a wink to his inspiration’s sources and a snub to the tragic History of his homeland, he also created the series M.K, in which he applied modern cut out papers of colors in geometrical abstract compositions on pages of Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Stating his art is mainly therapeutically and helps him escaping screens, he works simply with glue, papers and scissors. Unlike many other collage artists working digitally and using mainly photographs, he uses a lot of painting’s pictures into his creations, quoting other artists “colors and shapes” such as Klein's blue and Cezanne's charcoal sketches.
This whole process questions the idea of ownership in art, not unlike Dadaists did in their time. Far from trying to hide the objects of his “borrowings” he often leaves clues appearing, pushing the viewers to reconnect pieces together, in a “mental puzzle” solving way. It is interesting to note that the Amsterdam based artist emphasizes the importance of music in his creative modus operandi and refers to his borrowings as “samples”.
Mainly abstract, his works often depict vegetal elements, with big color blocks cut-out papers, hand painted. The papers are delicately cut, tore, layered and turned around, all in search for “beauty and harmony”. The contrast in intensity between the colors used from his hand-painted color block paper and the colors taken from paper cut-out paintings of Renaissance such as Brueghel emphasizes the paradoxical modern vintage aesthetic of his works.
You can visit his site and buy original artworks here and follow him on instagram @b.d.graft