In a world where little is new or original, and the appropriation of imagery is commonplace, Lola Dupre sets herself apart with her arresting, surreal collages. Taking pre-existing imagery from iconic historical and contemporary artists, as well as images of her friends and the people around her, she manipulates and warps familiar canvases to create new, twisted artworks that invoke both memories and new perspectives.
Her work is at once reflective and innovative, combining elements of what we already know and what we can learn to sign post the binary opposition that arises when experience collides with knowledge. Dupre’s work is Kafka-esque in its poignancy; subtly yet unapologeticlly challenging the information we have spent our lives so diligently absorbing. Talking about the nature of contradiction, the significance of imagery in our media hungry society, the existentialist, and David Cameron’s pasty bland face, Dupre gives Dazed Digital an insight into her kaleidoscopic world…
Dazed Digital: How do you create your collages?
Lola Dupre: Well, the process changes from piece to piece, but for the most part it goes something like this: I come up with a concept and then find an image that I can use to get the concept across. Then I crop it to various edits and then print the different edits on different sizes of paper. The abstractions follow an organic path, I can start a line where I want it to begin, but where it ends is another matter. I find it best to be quite flexible about the smaller details and elements as this is the area where control can easily be lost, and the piece takes on a life of its own.
DD: How do you chose your subject matter?
Lola Dupre: I find this kind of hard to answer. I mean, I can only make a very small percentage of the collages I would like to make, because we live in a world of so many interesting images. I make collages sometimes of my friends, or cats, cars, politicians, cameras; I am never short on choices. Usually I use images which either have significance to myself, or hold some kind of broader role in society, such as collages I have made of the Mona Lisa, David Cameron, Pope Benedict XVI. This is something I want to do a lot more of in the future, the reaction to my work I see in people is generally more interesting if they are viewing a piece that is based on an image that is already very familiar to them. I try to choose my subjects carefully, but it’s funny how that works when your feelings for the subject change over time, or the well-known scene you portray takes on new significance in the media.
DD: What is the relationship between the meticulousness of your work (in the collage itself, cutting, pasting etc) and the distortion of the images you replicate?
Lola Dupre: The areas with the most concentrated detail are frequently very small details from the subject. For example, a knob on a camera or a smile line on a portrait. I find this interesting, as I cannot remove these details from a final piece. For example if someone has pronounced smile lines, I can only accentuate them - I cannot remove them. Working like this, I think a part of the subject is left untouched and glorified. Things like shadow and converging lines give me a lot of work, if I work with a pasty bland face then this comes across in the finished pieces (for example my portraits of David Cameron).
DD: What other artists inspire you?
Lola Dupre: The artists around me right now in Glasgow. My accomplices Yvonne Chiffon, FiST, Heather Lander, Seth Orion Schwaiger, Elizabeth McDonald, Kepa Rasmussen, Parker, Michael Ball, Mel Wills amongst others. I think these "local" artists inspire me the most, as you hear the inside story on their work, see their work in progress and have a privileged insight into their working habits. From the world of art history there are many too, a sample: Otto Dix, Hieronymus Bosch, Bruegel, Francis Bacon, Egon Schiele, Beardsley, Kusama, Dziga Vertov, John Heartfield, Tatlin, there are many. I could go on, but I should probably stop now!
DD: What types of collaborations do you partake in and how do they inform your work?
Lola Dupre: This is the area of my work I am most enthusiastic about. I have thus far collaborated with photographers to produce for magazine editorial purposes. This is quite a fantastic thing for a traditional-media artist to achieve. If I produce an editorial for print, this gets my work out, full print, across multiple pages, which is an incredible way for me to showcase my work considering I am not a photographer. I have worked with the very talented Madame Peripetie and Kristiina Wilson on projects like this. I take delight in the fact that the photographer must come up with a concept for me to manipulate, as this results in a very pointed end work with two combined creative ideas. Collaborating with photographers is something I want to do a lot more of in the future. I am always eager to hear from photographers who are interested in collaborating on projects.
DD: What's next on your agenda?
Lola Dupre: Well, I have a few magazines stories and editorials coming out in the coming months and more planned for next year. I also believe I will be featured in an upcoming book from Gestalten and also another book from Herznote. I am also very excited to hopefully begin working soon with the wonderful photographer Laetitia Bica. My main goal for the near future is to continue working with photographers on exciting editorial concepts and to continue producing work.