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The montages I make are predetermined by grids that I draw based on geometrical abstract paintings, particularly from the 1920s or from the 1960s, 1970s or 1980s because these were the decades when the constructed photograph was a prominent feature of current art.
In his sci-fi novel "We" (1920-1), Yevgeny Zamyatin has his main character write "The line of the One State - it is a straight line. A great, divine, precise, wise, straight line - the wisest of lines". The overstatement is partly about the power of the straight line and partly a protest against it, I think.
Occasionally I deviate from the original idea of drawing grids from geometrical abstraction. Some of the grids I've made come from W.E.B. Du Bois' amazing diagrams.
Although some geometric abstract paintings contain
curves, my grids consist exclusively of straight lines so my choice is limited. I cut lines using a straight edge partly to emulate the analogue film editor who creates montages with a razor blade.
Martha Rosler's great photo-text work on the Bowery is organised in a grid as part of the critical modernist campaign against the aestheticisation of photography. My use of grids bridges the gap between the photographic document and the history of painting.
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