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Surrational Images: PHOTOMONTAGES Hardcover – October 1, 1992

4.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Photomontage, the combining of two or more negatives, can be traced back to the 1850s. Scott Mutter is a modern master of the art. His subtle images have enthralled viewers in exhibitions and galleries, mainly in the Midwest, for a decade. "The response has been overwhelming", curator Martin Krause commented of an exhibition at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. "I've had people calling me on the telephone telling me what a great show this is. That happens so rarely. For whatever reason, Scott's work is connecting with people". In the past year his work has attracted attention nationwide, and his posters are now available in galleries from coast to coast. Richly and immediately accessible, yet deeply resonant, Mutter's photomontages provoke strong responses: curiosity, awe, laughter, and then contemplation. They are creative fusions of elements that draw us irresistibly to look again at what first appears unbelievable. Boundaries dissolve miraculously; the impossible becomes seductively tangible. But the logic of his images is exact, reasoned - in his own term, "surrational". Although his work shares the recursive wit of Rene Magritte and M. C. Escher, Mutter never relies simply upon ironic effects. With precision and authority his art explores the ideals and mythologies of our culture, history, language, and art, both lamenting and celebrating contemporary civilization. "From the very beginning", states Mutter, "I tried to make images that people would find accessible and exciting. Art is no idle thing; people want to see something and be held in wonder". In short, he is a master at turning a glance into a gaze. In his foreword Martin Krause reviews the hundred-year history ofphotomontage and examines Mutter's unparalleled influence within that tradition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press (October 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252019350
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252019357
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.5 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,170,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
While many people criticize Scott Mutter's work, there is a true meaning behind almost all of his pieces. People do not like his work because they do not understand it or the difficult tasks he completed to make these works. I recently attended a lecture given by Mr. Mutter where he explained the thought process behind most of his photographs. He is truly an artistic genius. For Example, in his piece the Grave there is a revolving door. While most people say that he is implying reincarnation, this is incorrect. If you look closely you can see another door behind it that is closed. He told us that with this piece he meant to say that we can try and try to find out what is behind that solid door (representing death), but we can never know until we have passed because the door is locked. Many of the images in the book are not finished. During his lecture, Mr. Mutter constantly told us that he was eventually going to go back to pieces and work on them more. I know that a lot of what I'm saying doesn't concern the book, but my point is that this man is a creative genius and his work is truly mesmerizing. This book will make you look twice at many of the pictures. And if you really try to think about the pieces and look at the detail in them, you can find deeper meanings in them. Do not pass this book by. There is a reason why so many of his pieces have been made into posters. It is because this man's work is unbelievably amazing.
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Format: Hardcover
Photo montage is not an art form that I was familiar with prior to receiving this collection as a gift. Having studied this book, it seems to me that photo montage, unlike painting, straight photography or other visual arts, has a quality of novelty about it that would make it easy for the snobbish to disregard the form as a lesser artistic effort.
Well, I am not a snob and for me the novelty of Mr. Mutter's work has not worn off. I must say that not all of the images in this book "work" for me (hence four stars). Those that do, however, impact me at a level that is profound and just as deep as any painting, poem or movie has ever touched. In particular I am thinking of the grave with the revolving door, the trees growing from the parquet floor, the swan swimming atop a marble floor and the house residing in a copse of trees from which a dark and monolithic statue arises. All of the images in this book are black and white, which somehow lends each one a certain quality of veracity. It is really pointless, however, to describe these images as they must be seen to be appreciated.
So let us describe the book itself. A true coffee table edition, it is oversized just enough to allow each image a full page to itself (and sometimes more). The last few pages of the book are comprised of notes (listed by numbers which correspond to each picture) from the artist regarding the inspiration, execution and intent of each piece. This text is generally illuminating but occasionally sparse - as with the aforementioned grave image.
A great book on the whole that should prove inspiring, intriguing and entertaining for anyone with a sense of wonder and imagination
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By A Customer on April 21, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I personally think this book is clever and extreamly creative as a collection of work that re-looks at a form of photography that almost died. The fact that these are photograph montages and done with an amazing amount of skill blows me away.
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Format: Hardcover
Scott Mutter's collection has motivated me to evaluate our culture. Postmodernism and The Ecclectic have really become essential to the way that our society, as a whole, thinks. Sometimes I sit and stare at his work and try to understand. They are so odd. What does he mean? What do the photographs mean? Because this body of work has helped me to think, I rate it very highly. It has been the beginning of many meaningful and intelligent discussions.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Scott Mutter was a creative genius. His images are intriguing.
His craftsmanship flawless. I was awed the first time I saw this book.
Every time I look at it I find more to appreciate. Very thought provoking.
Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What I find most interesting about the book is how there are subtle differences in how the art presents in this volume versus other prints and the poster. It seems like the composition or expsoure differs, like on "The Escalator" for instance shown on the cover. These are photo montages designed to be viewed and pondered. One editorial choice I am not sure about is that the comments for all images are placed in the back like reference notes as opposed to near their respective images. Some of the images span both pages, so it does make sense from a consistency standpoint and prevents words from being superimposed over the imagery. I bought this initially because I wanted smaller versions of the posters I could display in a limited space, but found myself buying another that I could keep around as a book. If you have an interest in the thought process or interpretation of the work by the artist, then you will enjoy the comments section. Would recommend for a fan of Scott Mutter's work, or anyone in need of a conversation starter for their occsional table which doesn't require a person to read to enjoy the material.
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