Jakob Kolding's Urban Jungle
juxtapositions. It takes an artist like Jakob Kolding, whose work is currently on view at the U-M Museum of Art, to break us of our viewing habits and demonstrate how collage operates.
Kolding combines a streetwise, mash-up aesthetic with astute formal control to explore the multifaceted landscape of life in the modern city. The sixteen pieces chosen by Jacob Proctor, UMMA's associate curator of modern and contemporary art, riff on the theme of the "urban jungle" and contain images culled from a variety of media. Young skateboarders, run-down factories, and giant concrete apartment blocks inhabit Kolding's scenes alongside pop heroes such as Batman, who appears prominently in Architecture 2000 (2009). Words proliferate, as do images of earlier collage artists like Hannah Hoech. Black snaking forms drawn directly onto the surface reinforce the jungle theme and help to keep the overall composition from looking too crowded. Identifying the individual elements of these visual puzzles is great fun, but it should not keep visitors from appreciating the overall effect, particularly in Kolding's sparer works, which are elegantly shaped and complex examples of what great collage can be.