Artist Appropriation

Artist Appropriation

Appropriation in art involves deliberate borrowing, replicating, and modifying of existing images, objects, and ideas as an artistic approach.

Appropriation has had a significant impact on the history of the arts – its origins can be traced back to the cubist collages and constructions of artists like Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, starting around 1912. They incorporated real objects like newspapers to represent themselves. This approach was further developed in the readymades of French artist Marcel Duchamp from 1915 – one of the most infamous examples is ‘Fountain’, a men's urinal signed, titled, and presented on a pedestal.

Surrealism also extensively employed appropriation in collages and objects, exemplified by Salvador Dalí's Lobster Telephone. In the late 1950s, artists like Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, as well as the pop art movement, prominently featured appropriated images and objects.

Appropriation art raises questions about originality, authenticity, and authorship, fitting within the broader modernist tradition of art that challenges the nature and definition of art itself.

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Parra's studio, with Parra at the centre, his back to the camera as he works on the large painting takes centre stage, showing a faceless blue woman in a striped dress, painted in red, purple, blue and teal. The studio is full of brightly coloured paints, with a large window on the right and a patterned rug across the floor under the painting.