John Stezaker: Disfigured Echoes

Disfigured Echoes

Text by Anthony J. Thomas
November 2, 2015
The poetic image is not an echo of the past. On the contrary: through the brilliance of any image, the distant past resounds with echoes.

Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space, 1958


Bachelard's words resonate within the work of English-bred artist John Stezaker. For more than forty years, the artist continues to engage his viewer through reduction; often disfiguring the historical anecdotes of each image selected during his photo-merging process.

"I felt that there were too many images in the world already, I didn't want to add any new ones, I wanted to focus on the ones we already have." (Gestalten, 2013)

Stezaker's intriguing body of work resides somewhere in the annex between obscurity and poetry. He creates a metaphysical space defined by the seen and unseen, often leaving viewers in question of their perceptive control – are you a witness or an active participant?

His work challenges linear perception and what it means to actually "see" a photograph. So with this is mind... what do you see?

John Stezaker is represented by Petzel in New York.