Allan McCollum
USA, 1944
Allan McCollum is a self-taught artist whose first paintings date from the late sixties and provide a subtle comment on the prevailing Minimalist aesthetic of the time. In the eighties his work -along with that of Jeff Koons and Peter Halley, among others- was included in the simulationists and appropriationists, who were in search of a strategy that could question different modes of representation. In those years he did five series which, taken together, examine the role of the work of art in the consumer society. The "Surrogates" act as an imitation of works of art by supplying a host of objects which lack any identity of their own, but with the peculiarity that no two are alike. In 1982 he began the series "Perpetual Photos", consisting of photographs taken directly from a television screen which reproduce the paintings that appear on the sets and are of no importance whatever to the theme of the programme being broadcast: they are just there as part of the scenery. In 1985 he started "Perfect Vehicles", of which he produced hundreds. Their shape is reminiscent of a jar in different colours and sizes and enables him to be ironic about the work of art as something eternal and transcendent. Shortly afterwards he did the series "Individual Works", which consists of thousands of small pieces combining unrecognisable shapes of more than a hundred everyday objects. With Laurie Simmons, he also produced the series "Actual Photos"; in these images, obtained with a microscope, we can see the tiny faces of the figures used in model electric railways. McCollum's work, which is greatly influenced by the French philosopher Jean Baudrillard, is a constant questioning of the intrinsic values of consumer goods in a capitalist society saturated with objects.
Ferran Barenblit