COLIN SELF British, b. 1941

Overview

Colin Self studied at Norwich School of Art and the Slade in London during the early 1960s where he met fellow artists David Hockney and Peter Blake. Born during World War II, his earlier work demonstrated a sensibility to political issues and nuclear paranoia, making him the only British Pop artist to refer explicitly to the Cold War. 

 

Known for his paper collages, his work features the detritus of everyday life; train tickets, pizza boxes, stamps and postcards form new icons of our modern consumerist society such as Hot Dogs and comic book scenes. Filled with wit and humour they can also, at times, convey an unexpected atmosphere of violence and threat. His intention was to produce a detailed record of his society, which, in the event of its destruction, would convey its essential qualities to anyone coming across his work in the future. His work is a form of historical archaeology where scraps from the past are collected as clues to our modern times. “Who knows if they owe a little something to Kurt Schwitters, when I see his collages I am left wondering who dropped the tram tickets on the street for him to pick up like clues for a detective…”

 

Suspicious of the commercial art world, in 1965 Self returned permanently to Norwich where his subject matter and his repertoire of techniques continued to expand, taking in atmospheric Norfolk landscapes, still-lifes and studies of human behaviour. 

 

Recent exhibitions include The World Goes Pop, Tate Modern and International Pop; a touring exhibition at the Walker Art Centre, Dallas Museum of Art and Philadelphia Museum of Art, both 2015-2016.

 

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