Before 1908, in Europe, artists almost always used only traditional materials – like pencil and pastels for drawing, canvas and paint, or bronze, wood and marble for sculpture.
But then all that changed. By 1910, the artists Pablo Picasso and George Braque had begun to regularly use images and words cut from newspapers, collaged onto their artworks.
From 1913 onwards, Picasso, Braque and Marcel Duchamp were making three-dimensional equivalents of collages called assemblages – such as you saw and made in Chapter 2 – in which they put ordinary everyday things together to create sculptures. Since then world art has embraced almost all kinds of unconventional materials. There are no limits as to what can be used to make art. Think of almost any object and material available in the world, and there will probably be an artist who has made a work of art out of it!
Objects of adornment: wearing a message
Look at the image of the Lovedu necklace. Beaded necklaces are traditionally worn in many parts of South Africa. Some are simply decorative, while some convey special meanings and messages. This one has incorporated objects that are from the contemporary, not only the traditional, world.
Talk About This
We do not know exactly what these objects meant to the owner of this necklace, but we can guess. What do you think these objects might mean? Why were they chosen for this necklace? Might they be symbolic, or tell a story, or do you think they are they simply decorative?