Smoking Cat, 2014
Dennis Busch works in Germany, making his own brand of readymade photography, cutting and collaging and writing charmingly rude messages in white paint over many of the images. He constructs his images from photographs, revising our references until each work circles in on itself like a dream.
Busch’s work is a striking display of nihilistic collage art, absurdist sculpture, and abstracted photographs—many with messages for the public. An image of a medieval coat of armor, placed against a lavish red-orange backdrop, is casually adorned with the work iPhone. Juxtapositions seemingly so meaningless they make one pause in wonder, only to discover there is no “Why?”
Busch’s provocative iconography is at once awkward, edgy, aggressive, sexy, silly, and sometimes a little sentimental. Published in Back to Normal (Airbag Craftworks), Busch does not ask simple questions or offer easy answers, but happily thumbs his nose at convention, beauty, and formality. His work is a collection of imperfections, and a love of the absurd. Dada for your nerves.
Busch most recently published The Art of Collage (Gestalten), a survey of contemporary work that is as rich as it is inviting in its layering of aesthetics, one a top another. He speaks with The Click about his singular life in art.
Busch observes, “I consider myself a human being. I don’ feel like an artist. I see myself as a ‘metaphysical bomber’ bombing boundary after boundary. I am kind of satirist, critic, truthfinder, surgeon, dreamer, nutter, lovemaker, killer, pathfinder, astronaut, politic, maker, watcher, etc. Who cares about that? That’s part of the only game.
“I started way back in the end of the 80s. I published a self-released Skate/Psych/Surrealism fanzine named SUICIDAL ZINE. In a small quantity and gave it free to my school mates and friends. Soon I felt this could have been a step in the right direction as I was making first collage stuff, poetry, drawings, etc. That was a perfect way to push things through closed doors. The collage gave me free advice into the world of unbound imagination.
“Collage is the perfect medium to create loopholes in time. It’s rough, edgy, direct, very third-eyed. With one hand on a hexagram and with one hand on a burning rose, that’s like the medium of collage could be described. It’s a dream like affair. Everything is able to change in a splash of never ending free falling imagination. It’s more of a metaphysical affair: you can shake the kaleidoscope of images and see what comes next; if you don’t like it, nevermind, shake it again. There’s always a conversation running between different images. A new dawn is arising within the relationship between different worlds.
“I think one of the main positions of collage making is to cross boundaries, connect them. In the world of collage making you are invited to stroll around like a reality drunken Alice in a Wonderland equipped with magical cutters, scissors and glue. Sometimes I feel like a mad doctor fiddling in the open stomach of a melting down society. A modern Frankenstein. You can put things, forms, meanings in different relations to enter a void where everything can be mixed up anew to create new forms of understanding and awareness.
“Collage making is to manifest something that never can be manifested. It's like facing the quicksand that is running through your elusive hands of time. Once you have opened the door for it you realize there's no way back. Create yourself a reality within this crazy world.
“It was a delight to select the artists for The Art of Collage. I thought the time was right for such a project. It was important for me to show a wide range of distinctive styles, to show as much different positions as possible to keep the machine running. I wanted to focus a whole scene in all its different depth, complexity and beauty.”
“I think it was an important way to bring this stuff to a larger audience. Now is the time with so many talented collage-artists doing such great stuff that there was no other way to turn. Collage making nowadays becomes such a hype so it was important to drop a compendium that is going in that nonspecific but crystal-clear direction.
“I think it’s sometimes important to commence the changes very rough and fast. Sometimes doing it doublefast. That’s because I have to take care for the responsibility in detoxing wrong relationships between things that have become false prophets for so many decades in the past. Now is the time for a total blitz in seeing things, forms, shapes, and feelings in new directions. As we are living now in a time where there's a mash-up of all times. Yesterday and tomorrow are willing to find their stairway into our hasty present-time like climbing through invisible walls. There’s a typical language that lives within each image.
“You have to find the ultramagnetic initial-point to bring the meaning into an universal direction from where it can send out a metamessage like a rainbow-weapon-radar-machinegun-flower. Also there is a deepness that lives within each image. When you start to combine each image you soon will find truth after truth.
“Make yourself believe............................. Truth is Messagemousse.”