Stezaker wins prize

John Stezaker, Pair IV, 2007

British artist John Stezaker has won the £30,000 Deutsche Börse photography prize, run by London’s Photographers Gallery. Though not practising as a photographer the judges deemed his work photography and awarded the prize arguing that “he has found his way to use photography to reveal the subversive force of the image.”

As an art student, Stezaker read Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious and thought there might be a social version of it within the media. “I needed to evolve an art that was engaged with the momentous circulation of imagery. I found a way of intervening in that and revealing something about what had become a sort of collective unconscious.”

Stezaker, who lectures in art history at the Royal College of Art, sees his work in the context of Duchamp and his idea of ‘found’ art. He scours markets and secondhand bookshops for old photographs and postcards and collages them to create new meanings. His work is an “interruption” in the flow of media images in society,

“I see the cut as a decisive interruption in that flow. How do you inscribe on this flowing away of the world around you? How do you do something that’s fixed and has the quality of ‘contouredness’ that art requires for an image to become an imaginary possibility?”

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