The Tibor de Nagy Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new collages by celebrated poet John Ashbery and acclaimed avant-garde filmmaker Guy Maddin. Each artist will be represented by a group of collages completed within the last year. This is the fourth gallery exhibition to focus on Ashbery’s collages since his solo debut in 2008.
Maddin and Ashbery were mutual fans from a distance until they were introduced a few years ago. Soon they were collaborating. Ashbery wrote his own adaptation of the long-lost Dwain Esper exploitation film How to Take a Bath, which Maddin then filmed. The finished film, a short, is now included in Maddin’s latest feature The Forbidden Room, which has been described as “a film treatment in collage”. When talking about their shared love of collage-making, Maddin remarked “…I suppose this gluey and scissory medium is where the sensibilities of each other’s chosen fields come closest…where we unroll for the public the secret blueprints for the little visual collisions…”
Ashbery started making collages as an undergraduate at Harvard. His approach to poetry and collage is very much the same. In an Ashbery poem, the sentences and phrases accumulate into abstract “collages” that can’t easily be paraphrased or explained. The collages and poems both have surprising, and sometimes humorous juxtapositions and references to popular culture.
Winnipeg-born filmmaker Guy Maddin’s surreal, dreamlike works are often cited for their striking visuals and obscure sensibilities. He is a screenwriter, director, author, cinematographer and film editor and has made more than ten feature films and numerous shorts. He was appointed to the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honor, in 2012.
Born in Rochester, New York, in 1927, Ashbery is now widely considered one of the most celebrated living American poets. His twenty-sixth volume of new poems “Breezeway” was published last month. A collage by Ashbery is reproduced on the cover of the book and will be included in the exhibition. He has won the Pulitzer, two National Book Awards, and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and a MacArthur Fellowship. He served as executive editor of Art News and as the art critic for New York magazine and Newsweek. In 2012 Ashbery was awarded the National Medal in Humanities by President Obama.