Guy Maddin’s hypnotic and inventive cinematic worlds are complex assemblages of interwoven materials. So it comes as no surprise that Maddin is also a passionate collagist. In June, a collection of his collage work (presented along with collages by the poet John Ashbery) was even the subject of an exhibition at Tibor de Nagy Gallery in New York. But for Maddin, the physical act of creating these pieces is also a private, therapeutic affair. “I suppose the playroom of this gluey and scissory medium is where I find refuge whenever cinema’s laws feel too literal-minded,” Maddin recently told us, “where I can secretly fashion the blueprints for the little visual collisions I hope will work on the big screen.” His surreal collages exist somewhere between sensual reveries and portraits of a nightmare, through which Maddin explores the themes of nostalgia and memory present in his work.
“I’ve been going increasingly public with the results,” Maddin told us, “because the collage parties my friends and I throw, which are nothing less than Jack Smith-style happenings, but with more taffeta, are simply getting to be too much fun not to share with the world.” And he added a bit of advice to the amateur collagist: “Don’t throw out your old porn magazines, they can be recycled in far tonier ways than any old paper shredder could dream up!”