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found art - Kurt Schwitters - collage - montage

Merz 32A (Les Cérises) (1921) - Kurt Schwitters


Bricolage, from the French bricoler "to tinker" or "to fiddle", is that language's equivalent of the English phrase "do-it-yourself".

In art, bricolage is a technique where works are constructed from various materials available or on hand, and is seen as a characteristic of postmodern works.

These materials may be mass-produced or "junk". See also: Merz, polystylism, collage.

In biology the biologist François Jacob uses the term bricolage to describe the apparently cobbled-together character of much biological structure, and views it as a consequence of the evolutionary history of the organism. (Molino 2000, p.169)

In cultural studies bricolage is used to mean the processes by which people acquire objects from across social divisions to create new cultural identities. In particular, it is a feature of subcultures such as the punk movement. Here, objects that posess one meaning (or no meaning) in the dominant culture are acquired and given a new, often subversive meaning. For example, the safety pin became a form of decoration in punk culture.

Bricolage is also often contrasted to engineering: building by trial and error rather than based on theory.

A person who engages in bricolage is a bricoleur.

Molino, Jean (2000). "Toward an Evolutionary Theory of Music and Language", The Origins of Music. Cambridge, Mass: A Bradford Book, The MIT Press. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bricolage [Mar 2005]

see also: art - found - cultural studies - postmodernism - subcultures - meaning - subversion - collage


Assemblage is also a general art term that can be used to describe many different art forms, and movements. The most prominent of these is collage, and its close cousin decollage. Collage as a technique was used by many different art groups since the beginning of the modern age. Including Cubism, Color Field, Constructivism, and various postmodern disciplines. An assemblage can be made of paper, fabric, photos, or in the case of much of Robert Rauschenberg's work, even three dimensional objects. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assemblage [Mar 2005]

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