A Joy in Paradox Arrangements
In Rolf Sellmann’s complex oeuvre, which includes paintings, drawings, objects, and multimedia art projects, collage is the most recent addition. This technique, invited by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso in the early twentieth century and made public as papier collé, is useful for all artists with a penchant for sampling and combining. An essential aspect for all collagists: an unbiased and curious approach all kinds of visual material, from the trash motif from the tabloids to a reproduction of a masterpiece from the Louvre.
Sellmann fulfils all these requirements. With a playful lightness and joy in paradoxical arrangements, something grows together in his collages that doesn’t necessarily belong together. Images from lifestyle periodicals, images torn from magazines, photographs of objects, art historical quotations, things drawn or painted himself: using these building blocks, motif constellations emerge that are as surprising as they are charming.
Rolf Sellmann’s approach to collage is shaped by flexibility: “On the one hand, there are constructions that develop from the process in which nothing is previously fixed and in which everything develops as I go,” the artist explains. “On the other hand, there are constructions in which a design idea takes control during the process. And there are still other constructions where it is clear before I start pasting how the final result should look.” Whatever construction principle the individual collage follows: it is simply fun to look at these bustling objets trouvés and to think about what parts of whatever puzzle have been assembled together.
Text by Dr. Jörg Restorff (Kunsthistoriker and Journalist)