Assemblage Art

Assemblage Art – Introducing the Art of Sculptural Collage

What is assemblage art? And how did this art form emerge in sculpture? Assemblage art is a genre of art that many may not recognize but have probably come across in a museum or gallery. While you may be confused about its place in sculpture, we will introduce you to the world of assemblage art, including its definition, history, pioneering artists, and notable assemblage art examples. Rest assured that by the end of this article, you will be able to identify an assemblage artwork the next time you are on an art escapade!



Assemblage Art: Sculptural Collage

Famous American sculptor Louise Nevelson once said assemblage is “like a vocabulary of emotions”, which in the 20th century, was a period of incredible development for Modern art as many new art styles and movements emerged across Europe and the United States. This included a genre of art called assemblage art, which was led by pioneering artists such as Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. Well, what is assemblage? And how did this form of sculpture evolve? Assemblage art in the 20th century combined the fields of painting and sculpture with found objects that formed cohesive structures or “assemblages” and was an intriguing way of making art in the early 20th century.

Assemblages ArtFountain (1917) by Marcel Duchamp; Marcel Duchamp, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons 

The use of everyday items in art transformed the way fine art was perceived since it broke away from the use of traditional mediums found in painting and sculpture. Definitions of assemblage art describe it as a form of sculpture that is created specifically from found objects and everyday items. Assemblage art had its origins in 1910 in France and later spread to other parts of Europe and then the Americas. Cubists such as Picasso and Braque broke down traditional representations of everyday life through geometric forms, distortion, and assemblage art, thus disrupting the elements of shape, form, color, material, and structure.

Items would then be altered and reassembled in various ways to form interesting three-dimensional assemblages, which helped redefine the medium of sculpture.

An important art practice that emerged from assemblage art included collage art, which was the two-dimensional form of assemblage art and involved the use of cutouts to create complex artworks with new visual languages. An assemblage definition in art history can thus be understood as a collage brought to life through the curation of a three-dimensional form crafted from different found and everyday objects and materials.


The Development and Impact of Assemblage Art

When examining an assemblage definition in art, it is important to review the development and impact. Other artists who played a pivotal role in defining assemblage art were Marcel Duchamp and Kurt Schwitters. Marcel Duchamp was most famous for his sculptures, which were defined by their ready-made quality, which he repurposed and adopted as sculptures. His submission of a urinal as his sculpture in a 1917 exhibition stirred controversy among those who were not ready to have their efforts as sculptors undermined, however, Duchamp’s insertion of readymade objects into sculpture as an art of its own was a bold statement that had a large influence on many Modern artists to follow.

Assemblage Definition in ArtRed Wire Sculpture (1944) by Kurt Schwitters; Wmpearl, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The German artist Kurt Schwitters also incorporated everyday found objects into his work and defined a new philosophy for assemblage art called “Merz”, which described the creation of new things from objects and materials otherwise overlooked or discarded. This philosophy had a significant impact on the way that material and assemblage in sculpture were viewed and interpreted, which attributed meaning to found objects in an intentional way. This influenced many Modern art styles and shifted the traditional boundaries of sculpture and painting in the visual arts by allowing artists to use mundane objects as a way of expressing complex themes, ideas, and emotions. Additionally, what “Merz” advocated for was that what is thrown away and kept behind reflects the state of preferences of the time, which also left artists with enough material to express their views on the everyday found objects that reflected the social and cultural landscape of the time.

By adopting recognizable materials, artists were also able to better connect with their audiences and encourage discussion around what art was and how it could be looked at critically as a form of engagement with society. The 1950s and 1960s were also a crucial period in assemblage art when artists began to narrow in on the changes of post-war industrialization, consumer culture, and the influx of Pop art driven by popular culture and icons.

What was recognizable to the public began to sell and circulate in the fine art sphere, eventually spreading beyond assemblage and Cubist sculpture to Conceptual art.

The Conceptual art movement also saw many assemblage artists rise in the 1960s and focused on the idea of the artwork as opposed to its physical form. Here, one can identify artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, and Joseph Cornell whose conceptual focus on assemblage sculpture was quite profound albeit the obscure nature of their assemblage artworks. One aspect of assemblage sculptures and artworks is that they will almost always be unique artworks with distinct visual aesthetics that are often unforgettable, thus making the artist’s works highly collectible and valuable.



Prominent Assemblage Artists and Artworks

Now that you understand the meaning of assemblage art and how it has evolved over the Modern era, we will now dive into some of the best assemblage art examples and artists of all time who have redefined the genre of sculpture and altered society’s view of everyday objects. From figures like Picasso to innovators like Irma Hünerfauth and Darren Bader, you can be sure to learn a lot about the different approaches that artists have used in assemblage!

Assemblage ArtistsRelief in Blue Square (1925) by Kurt Schwitters; Kurt Schwitters, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973)

Artist NamePablo Ruiz Picasso
Date of Birth25 October 1881
Date of Death8 April 1973
Associated Movements, Themes, and StylesCubism, Modern art, Primitivism, and Surrealism
MediumsAssemblage, painting, drawing, collage, sculpture, printmaking, and theater design
Famous Artworks●      Bull’s Head (1942)

●      Man With a Lamb (1944)

●      Death’s Head (1944)

●      Little Girl Jumping Rope (1950 – 1954)

Recognized for his contributions to Cubism and Modern sculpture, Pablo Picasso was considered a groundbreaking artist of the 20th century who also experimented with assemblage art. Employing a range of media, Picasso created a few assemblage pieces using found materials to create abstract forms and explore negative space in sculpture. Picasso’s influence on the world of Modern sculpture was significant as it normalized everyday objects as tools for enhancing the elements of sculpture and the role of materiality in art. During Picasso’s stay in Paris, he developed his approach to assemblage by repurposing debris and waste and casting them in bronze to create new works of art that introduced a sense of humor to the mundane and opened up the public’s imagination of items that would otherwise be discarded.

Using different forms of waste, Picasso created masterpiece assemblages such as Bull’s Head (1942) and Man With a Lamb (1944).


Bull’s Head (1942)

Medium Found objects: bicycle seat and handlebars
Dimensions (cm) 33.5 x 43.5 x 19
Where It Is Housed  Musée Picasso, Paris, France

Described as one of Picasso’s most unique assemblage artworks, Bull’s Head was admired for its transparency of found objects, made up of a bicycle seat and its handlebars. Regarding its transparency, critics were surprised at the fact that Picasso did not attempt to hide the objects and disguise them beneath any superficial material, which is what made the assemblage special. His work was also described as “astonishingly complete” and was also remarked on by Picasso himself who recalled his encounter with the materials and the way he conjured the idea of the sculpture was that “the idea of the Bull’s Head came to him before he even had the chance to think”. Picasso stumbled upon the composition while rummaging through a pile of objects. In cases like this, the assemblage seemed to have arrived before the artist even conceived of the idea.


Raoul Hausmann (1886 – 1971)

NameRaoul Hausmann
Date of Birth12 July 1886
Date of Death1 February 1971
Associated Movements, Themes, and StylesDadaism, Modern art, and Avant-Garde art
MediumsCollage, assemblage, photography, sculpture, poetry, photomontage, theory, and performance
Famous Artworks●      The Spirit of Our Time; Mechanical Head (1919)

●      The Spirit of Dada (c. the 1920s)

●      Tatlin at Home (1920 – 1923)

●      The ABCD (1923)

Raoul Hausmann was one of the pioneering figures of the Dada movement, whose preference for the absurd and irrational defied 20th-century conventions. As such, Hausmann was also known for his work in assemblage art, which he used to produce some of the most memorable Dadaist works. Hausmann used found objects and materials constructed in surreal ways to create famous assemblages as seen in The Spirit of Our Time; Mechanical Head (1919). His approach to assemblage art was characterized by his rejection of traditional standards of beauty as well as his interest in humor, satire, and alternative ways of viewing and interpreting the world.

Hausmann’s contribution to the Dada movement is widely recognized as he received countless accolades for his work and established himself as one of the most influential artists of the Pop art movement in the 60s and 70s.


The Spirit of Our Time; Mechanical Head (1919)

MediumWooden mannequin head and attached objects
Dimensions (cm)32.5 x 21 x 20
Where It Is HousedThe Centre Pompidou, Paris, France

The Spirit of Our Time; Mechanical Head (1919) is Hausmann’s most famous assemblage that was created as a representation of the modern world. The assemblage constitutes a large wooden mannequin head with various found mechanical objects attached to it. The emphasis of Hausmann’s assemblages was placed on the speed of “the mechanical” and therefore represented the fast-paced nature of Modern society and technological development. The assemblage’s strong presence is also a critique of the Modern world and its capabilities for dehumanization. He, therefore, presented a duality of the Modern world that makes the human redundant while serving the development of humanity.


Joseph Cornell (1903 – 1972)

NameJoseph Cornell
Date of Birth24 December 1903
Date of Death29 December 1972
Associated Movements, Themes, and StylesModern art found object movement and Surrealism
MediumsAssemblage art, collage, sculpture, and filmmaking
Famous Artworks●      Tilly Losch (c. 1935)

●      Untitled (Soap Bubble Set) (1936)

●      Untitled (Medici Slot Machine) (1942)

●      Hotel Eden (1945 – 1950)

●      Untitled (Aviary with Two Birds) (c. 1949 – 1950)

A pioneer of assemblage art in the 1930s and 1950s Joseph Cornell was one of the most famous American assemblage artists of the modern decade. Cornell was most famous for incorporating found objects such as photographs, shells, maps, magazine cut-outs, and other interesting unique objects into little boxes that he created as poetic devices. His work often referenced themes related to ballet, entertainment, bird-watching, and astronomy. The assemblage boxes are considered to be iconic works of the 40s and 50s that were constructed from glass and wood and were filled with found objects, images, and texts. These assemblage boxes served as mini-worlds and offered viewers a sense of escapism from reality. For Cornell, assemblage art became a tool for time travel as he experimented with filmmaking and Surrealist-inspired styles. Additionally, Cornell’s work was viewed as a precursor to the Pop art movement of the 1960s since many of his assemblage works also included references to popular culture.

Cornell was also a pioneering artist of the found object art movement, which was a major aspect of assemblage art that saw many artists incorporate everyday objects into their work as a rejection of traditional artistic conventions.


Untitled (Medici Slot Machine) (1942)

Date 1942
Medium Glass, metal, marble, paint, and printed paper collage
Dimensions (cm) 39.4 x 30.5 x 11
Where It Is Housed Private collection

Untitled (Medici Slot Machine) is one such example of Cornell’s peculiar assemblage boxes that incorporated poetic everyday objects and materials contrasted by Renaissance portraits. Cornell was an innovative genius of assemblage artists who understood the capacity for expanding the genre of assemblage art and sculpture by including an experience that no other assemblage artist could bring to the table. Cornell’s assemblage boxes were compared to small time capsules that allowed his views to step back in time and experience the society and culture of major European capitals. His assemblage boxes capture the essence of the past uniquely and potently. It is believed that Cornell’s assemblage boxes served as tributary items to the women who inspired him and included actresses and ballerinas who caught his attention. His boxes were also a reflection of his travels when Cornell would search for material, make conversation with locals at coffee shops, and document his journey in scribbles and notes. Boxes such as Untitled (Medici Slot Machine) serve as playful reminders of the past concerning the once-powerful Medici family.


Irma Hünerfauth (1907 – 1998)

NameIrma Hünerfauth
Date of Birth31 December 1907
Date of Death11 December 1998
Associated Movements, Themes, and StylesModern art, Abstract art, human form, consumerism, found-object art, and satire
MediumsAssemblage, sculpture, and painting
Famous Artworks●      War Animals Suffer, Too. Speaking Box (1986)

●      The Bilious Green Plate Before Blue (c. 1995)

●      Die Spielerin (The Gambler) (1995)

●      Untitled (n.d.)

●      Künstler Gebetbuch – Denke nicht, wundere Dich! (n.d.)

Irma Hünerfauth was a notable German assemblage artist of the “lost generation” who studied at the Städel School of Fine Arts in Frankfurt and later became one of the most unique Modernist assemblage artists of the century. Hünerfauth’s use of found material in her sculptures alongside her interests in Abstraction and Modernism were used to demonstrate themes of the human form as well as relationships between nature and technology.

Her approach to assemblage art was recognized for its innovative use of material through which complex themes of identity were explored in conjunction with scrap materials, which added a sense of movement and spontaneity to her work.

Throughout her career, Hünerfauth won many awards, including the Gold Medal at the International Art Exhibition in Paris in 1937 and the Grand Prix at the International Exhibition of Contemporary Art in 1939. Unfortunately, her work was repressed by the Nazi regime and the assemblage artist was forced to flee her hometown during the Second World War. In her post-war practice, she joined the German Association of Artists where she further contributed to challenging traditional ideas about the role of found objects in art and sculpture.


Die Spielerin (The Gambler) (1995)

MediumMetal collage with various found objects glued on the framed aluminum panel and anodized frame
Dimensions (cm)200 x 100
Where It Is HousedArtist’s archive

Die Spielerin is among Hünerfauth’s first metal collage artworks that showcase her experimentation with assemblage using various found metal objects glued to an aluminum panel. By the late 1960s, Hünerfauth began focusing on the intersections between sound, speech, music, and sculpture and developed unique kinetic vibrational objects known as “speaking objects”, which she filled with industrial scrap materials. It was then that her assemblage evolved into metal collage panels followed by her special artist prayer books that she decorated using scrap material.

What Is AssemblageBlue Pistol (1973) Irma Hünerfauth; Foto: Hans-Wulf Kunze Ort: Magdeburg, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Robert Rauschenberg (1925 – 2008)

Artist NameMilton Ernest Rauschenberg (Robert)
Date of Birth22 October 1925
Date of Death12 May 2008
Associated Movements, Themes, and StylesModern art, Neo-Dadaism, Abstract Expressionism, Pop art, and Contemporary art
MediumsAssemblage, sculpture, drawing, painting, photography, performance art, and papermaking
Famous Artworks●      Bed (1955)

●      Monogram (1955 – 1959)

●      Canyon (1959)

●      Booster (1967)

Robert Rauschenberg was a pioneer of assemblage art Throughout the 20th century and is most famous for his unique approach to assemblage Sculpture. Rauschenberg combined unconventional materials and found objects to create complex, multi-layered compositions. His sculptures transformed the genre of assemblage art by blurring the boundaries between life and art while shifting the discourse of modern sculpture. Rauschenberg’s contribution to assemblage art cannot be overlooked since his unconventional approach inspired numerous Contemporary artists to follow in his footsteps. His innovation surrounding the use of unconventional materials and non-traditional techniques made him a key figure of the Pop art and Neo-Dada movements.

Throughout his career, Rauschenberg received many accolades, including a major retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum in 1999, which helped establish Rauschenberg as one of the most prolific artists of the 20th century.


Monogram (1955 – 1959)

Date 1955 – 1959
MediumOil, paper, fabric, printed reproductions, metal, wood, rubber shoe-heel, and tennis ball on canvas with Angora goat, brass plaque, and rubber tire on a wood platform, mounted on four casters
Dimensions (cm) 106.7 x 160.7 x 163.8
Where It Is HousedRobert Rauschenberg Foundation, New York City, United States

Monogram is one of Rauschenberg’s most famous assemblage sculptures, which features a stuffed Angora goat mounted on a painted wooden platform. The iconic goat sculpture is recognized as Rauschenberg’s most playful work that uses found materials and the uncanny image of a taxidermied goat to redefine the materiality of assemblage. Rauschenberg sourced the goat from a local pet store in New York City and attached it to a wooden platform. He then added a tire around it and a few other randomly found objects. Over four years, the assemblage evolved with Rauschenberg subtracting and adding objects to alter the composition. He also added an Abstract Expressionist painting on the tire to elevate the color of the assemblage. Monogram is considered to be one of the most interesting and unique artworks of the 20th century that challenges the notions of low and high culture as well as what art should look like.

Assemblage Art ExamplesRiding Bikes (1998) by Robert Rauschenberg; Kamahele, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Betye Saar (1926 – Present)

NameBetye Irene Saar
Date of Birth  30 July 1926
Date of Death Present
Associated Movements, Themes, and StylesBlack Arts movement, Contemporary art, post-colonialism, Modern art, portraiture, identity, femininity, race, and stereotypes
MediumsAssemblage, installation, painting, sculpture, printmaking, drawing, and photography
Famous Artworks●      Black Girl’s Window (1969)

●      Nine Mojo Secrets (1971)

●      The Liberation of Aunt Jemima (1972)

●      Sadhaka (1974 – 1975)

●      Keep for Old Memoirs (1976)

One cannot discuss the powerful assemblage art of the 20th century without mentioning the work of Betye Saar. A leading multi-media artist, Saar remains one of the most iconic assemblage artists of the Contemporary decade and is best known for her contribution to postcolonial art. Her assemblages of the late 20th century tackle issues of race, stereotypes, and identity presented in potent and symbolic assemblage collages and artworks through which the artist expresses her dedication to the Black Arts movement. Saar not only recycles found objects and nostalgic objects of the past, but she also recycles old emotions and feelings, which bring spiritual energy to her assemblages and make them incredibly unique.

Through the appropriation of African-American folklore and racist imagery promoted in the 1940s and 1960s, Saar dives head-first into important topics such as racism, which still affect many African-American communities today.


The Liberation of Aunt Jemima (1972)

Dimensions (cm)Unavailable
Where It Is HousedBerkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, California, United States

The Liberation of Aunt Jemima was one of Saar’s most influential assemblage artworks of the 1970s, which featured the problematic and racist figure of “Aunt Jemima” used by the brand Quaker Oats to market a line of pancake mixes and syrups. In the assemblage, Saar appropriates the figure of Aunt Jemima, which was heavily rooted in slavery and racism, and uses it to voice her outrage at the oppression of African American people in America. Saar’s use of racist imagery is a reclamation of her power as a Black woman who recognized the need for representation and used assemblage art to bring awareness to racism, stereotypes, and the historical injustices faced by Black American citizens.

AssemblagesBetye Saar Site Installations (1989); National Archives at College Park – Still Pictures, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Jasper Johns (1930 – Present)

NameJasper Johns
Date of Birth15 May 1930
Date of DeathPresent
Associated Movements, Themes, and StylesAbstract Expressionism, Modern Art, Contemporary art, Neo-Dadaism, and Pop art
MediumsAssemblage, sculpture, painting, printmaking, and drawing
Famous Artworks●      False Start (1959)

●      Painted Bronze (1960 – 1964)

●      Fool’s House (1961 – 1962)

●      Between the Clock and the Bed (1981)

●      The Seasons (1987)

Jasper Johns is a Famous American pop art and assemblage artist who is most famous for his mixed-media assemblages and paintings of flags and targets. Johns has created many famous assemblage artworks, including works such as Painted Bronze (1960 – 1964) and Between the Clock and the Bed (1981), which remain iconic contributions to the world of assemblage art. What makes Johns’ works so unique is his approach to assemblage art informed by a fusion of sculpture, painting, and found objects to create abstract and fragmented assemblages that are not only recognizable but convey a sense of movement, spontaneity, and tactility. Some recognizable symbols featured in Johns’ assemblages included numbers, maps, targets, and flags, which are arranged in a collage-like manner to create an engaging form of visual layering.

Johns’ assemblages are open-ended and invite viewers into a multi-layered experience.


Painted Bronze (1960 – 1964)

Date 1960 – 1964
Medium Bronze and oil paint
Dimensions (cm) 34.3 x 20.3
Where It Is Housed Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, United States

Painted Bronze is among Johns’ most famous assemblage artworks, which challenges the notions of painting and sculpture while tackling themes of American consumerism and identity. In using recognizable objects and subjects, Johns also challenges the viewer to critique their preconception and opinions on the society around them. The paintings on the bronze cans are gestural and feature the stars and stripes of the American flag, a popular motif seen in many of Johns’ paintings and prints. The color palette is also muted such that the atmosphere of the work is grim and melancholic, while also evoking a sense of nostalgia. The flatness of the beer can act as both the sculpture and the painting, while the bronze references the work’s sculptural quality. Johns also touches on the commercialization of American identity and consumer culture, which was prevalent in the 1960s and is somewhat still quite relevant today.


Lubo Kristek (1943 – Present)

NameLubo Kristek
Date of Birth8 May 1943
Date of DeathPresent
Associated Movements, Themes, and StylesHolographic perception, Modern art, public art, anti-art, and Contemporary art
MediumsAssemblage, painting, sculpture, and performance art
Famous Artworks●      Barbed Wire of Christ (1983)

●      On the Landfill of Ages (1994)

●      Apotheosis of the Human Brain (2010)

●      Kristek House (2015 – 2018)

Lubo Kristek is a famous Czech-German sculptor and assemblage artist whose contribution to Modern assemblage spans over five decades. The award-winning artist was born in Prague and went on to become one of the best performance artists of the 20th century. Kristek’s career in happenings and performance art was also celebrated throughout the 1970s as he explored themes related to the body and tested the boundaries of mental and physical capacity. His sculpture with found objects took shape in the 1970s and soon became iconic symbols of assemblage art for which he received numerous accolades, including the Jindřich Chalupecký Award in 1995 and the Minister of Culture Award in 2016. Kristek’s unique approach to assemblage art also highlighted the relationships we have between the environment and mediums such as sculpture. In his assemblages, Kristek highlights the tensions of these relationships and encourages viewers to reflect on the occupation of space.

His style ranges from playful to surreal with many famous assemblages such as Gloria, Birth of Homo Divinensus – Intelektes (1989), and Apotheosis of the Human Brain (2010).


Kristek House (2015 – 2018)

Date2015 – 2018
MediumHouse, clock, and a tree
Dimensions (cm)Unavailable
Where It Is HousedResearch Institute of Communication in Art, Brno, Czechia

Kristek House was a large-scale assemblage sculpture created by Kristek between 2015 and 2018 and was recognized as the “dwelling place” that contained specific memories, and histories, and as such, was a conceptually profound assemblage that remains one-of-a-kind to date. Kristek was inspired by his idea of the artistic object and the “non-place”, which provided one with a space for “spiritual rambling”. The surreal-looking house stands as a tool for reflection on social spaces for gathering and how the house as an assemblage work functions in Modern art beyond its aesthetic and functional use. His work provides a fantastical dimension for viewers to stop and engage with during a period when space and occupation became overlooked. His artistic concept presented a moment of projection of a real-world indifference toward the mundane and everyday structures while posing a challenge to viewers through assemblage, thus highlighting the destruction of traditional structures.

Assemblage SculptureFamily with the Invisible Man (1994) by Lubo Kristek; Lubo Kristek, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Huma Bhabha (1962 – Present)

NameHuma Bhabha
Date of Birth1962
Date of DeathPresent
Associated Movements, Themes, and StylesModern art, Contemporary art, post-war art, death, decay, science fiction, mythology, cultural identity, violence, and abstraction
MediumsAssemblage, sculpture, printmaking, and painting
Famous Artworks●      Magic Carpet (2003)

●      Untitled (2005)

●      Salvation (2016):

●      Ancestor I (2017)

●      We Come in Peace (2018)

●      Receiver (2019)

Huma Bhabha is one of the leading Contemporary assemblage artists of the 21st century who created eerie, earthy, and unique assemblage sculptures using found objects, clay, Styrofoam, and other metals. Bhabha has created many well-known assemblage works, including a 2018 assemblage sculpture called We Come in Peace for the rooftop garden of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Bhabha’s assemblages tackle themes of science fiction, mythology, decay, transformation, cultural identity, and postwar abstraction among many other Modernist concepts.

Her works draw reference to classical sculpture while employing assemblage through found objects and unconventional sculpture materials to create various haunting figures that appear human-like and evoke themes of violence, war, and the human condition.


Magic Carpet (2003)

Date 2003
Medium Plaster, rug, rubber boots, and plexiglass
Dimensions (cm) 121.9 x 91.4 x 58.4
Where It Is Housed Private collection

Magic Carpet is a famous mixed-media assemblage sculpture created by Huma Bhabha in 2003. The assemblage sculpture stands over eight feet tall and is made of cork, clay, Styrofoam, and other materials that resemble a human-like figure. What makes the statue stand out is its large, distorted head and symmetrical body which appears hunched over while mounted on a small platform. The addition of other materials such as paint, plastic, and nails also provides a visceral effect that evokes a sense of decay and erosion. What makes this assemblage striking to the viewer is its contrast between its human-like appearance, organic materials, as well as industrial materials, which creates a sense of tension and ambiguity in the statue. The viewer is forced to grapple with the idea that the sculpture could be both inanimate and alive at the same time.


Darren Bader (1978 – Present)

NameDarren Bader
Date of Birth1978
Date of DeathPresent
Associated Movements, Themes, and StylesContemporary art, found object art, authorship, originality, language, humor, and rhetoric
MediumsAssemblage, sculpture, poetry, video, and literature
Famous Artworks●      Mundi 56 (2020)

●      AES-PoPRS20 (2021)

●      AES-PoPRS4 (2021)

●      CS20, sd (n.d.)

Darren Bader is one of the leading Contemporary assemblage artists of the 21st century whose quirky and humorous assemblage sculptures echo his fascination with the art object and its role as a sculpture. Bader draws reference to other pioneering Modernists such as Marcel Duchamp and Wolfgang Tillmans who have each played significant roles in framing the context of the art object into fine art while using juxtaposition to highlight alternative forms of representation and perception. What makes Bader’s work, especially appealing in the Contemporary era of assemblage is his use of recognizable icons, materials, and special objects that would be construed as “worth something”.

His use of objects and items of the past in assemblage is also curated in ways that invite viewers to reflect on the value of an art object and the idea of objects that require zero explanation when presented in an assemblage of novelty goods, common 21st-century items, and outdated objects of past trends.


CS20, sd (n.d.)

MediumAssemblage: filing cabinet, wakeboard, shoe trees, blazer, hat, and belt
Dimensions (cm)60 x 100 x 60
Where It Is HousedOffice Baroque, Antwerpen, Belgium

CS20, sd is a prime example of celebrity novelty goods presented in an unusual layout as though a figure is slithering out of the cabinet. Each object in the assemblage is attached to an iconic figure of the 20th century and includes Barbra Streisand’s belt and Aretha Franklin’s hat, which cleverly show off the “selling points” of the work. The assemblage thus becomes an appealing haul for fans of these icons and casts Bader’s assemblage into the realm of goods that would otherwise be sold on E-Bay. The viewer is thus forced to question the authenticity of the assemblage or rely on the conceptual underpinning of the claims behind the assemblage.


The development of assemblage art greatly informed the way that artists use the material in sculpture, and reassessed the role of the art object. By incorporating found objects and other materials in sculpture, assemblage artists, such as the ones discussed above, have broken the boundaries of what can be considered sculpture, which led to the development of new visual languages across sculpture and installation art. Assemblage art was significant in that it also continues to challenge existing notions of perfection and beauty, while building a newfound appreciation for all things mundane and common.




Frequently Asked Questions


What Is Assemblage Art?

Assemblage art refers to the artistic practice of assembling different everyday objects into a three-dimensional work of art, such as a sculpture. The technique for assemblage art originated in the early 20th century through Cubist constructions and is also referred to as bricolage, found object sculptures, or constructions. Assemblages rely on found objects and non-traditional art objects to form symbolic sculptures that express artistic concepts while retaining their original identity.


Who Are the Leading Modern Assemblage Artists?

The leading Modern assemblage artists include figures such as Robert Rauschenberg, Pablo Picasso, Jasper Johns, Martha Rosler, Georges Braque, Betye Saar, Kurt Schwitters, and Joseph Cornell.


What Is the Difference Between Assemblage Art and Sculpture?

Assemblage is considered to be a form of sculpture that is created using a specific process of assembling objects that are considered non-traditional or unconventional, while sculptures refer to three-dimensional artworks that are usually created using one or two mediums or materials that are considered traditional.


Cite this Article

Liam, Davis, “Assemblage Art – Introducing the Art of Sculptural Collage.” artfilemagazine – Your Online Art Source. August 17, 2023. URL:

Davis, L. (2023, 17 August). Assemblage Art – Introducing the Art of Sculptural Collage. artfilemagazine – Your Online Art Source.

Davis, Liam. “Assemblage Art – Introducing the Art of Sculptural Collage.” artfilemagazine – Your Online Art Source, August 17, 2023.

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