This Deceptive Collage Series Challenges Appearances and Reality

Irina and Silviu Szekely are the artists whose collage and photography work deliberately settles itself on existentially unsteady ground. Their ongoing collage project Les Faux Tableaux is an exploration of “the labyrinthine theme of identity, the presence of the mask, and the foundations of the self.” From old art and photography books and magazines, the pair create a poetic interrogation of reality.

Being is conveyed by holding a thin strip of paper with no indication that it is a letter

After crazed wandering through poses and draperies, the contemporary novel stopped dead in the middle of the street where its loved one was playing

The Romanian couple grew up under Communism and met as students of philosophy, at unniversity; they are now based in Wales, UK. Their cut-and-stick collage is as much a philosophy of life as it is their artistic process; they’ve spent time travelling, cutting and sticking themselves between different countries, in a constant state of leaving behind old things and stitching together new ones. “We often call our life la vie en collage,” the duo tell us when we caught up on their progress.

Glass tubules making doors appear suddenly behind pressed steel and yesterday’s fabric

“Making collages is just another aspect of our being together and enjoying doing everything together,” the self-taught artists say. When it’s masks and false realities under their gaze, it’s an enigmatic case of double trouble creating art about the trouble of doubles. Dizzying.

THE PLUS: What is it about collage that attracts you as artists?
Irina and Silviu Svekely:
It has a stubbornness that we love… there is so much and yet so little that it allows you to do with it. We extract what we think we want, but at the same time we respect where it comes from and we try to keep its original intention while extracting and relocating it.

TP: And how does this relocation process figure in your art?
IS + SS:
The paper cutouts are very much like people who travel. Sometimes they like the place they arrived at so much that they immediately decide to stay there. Forever.

In the midst of happy, reasonable voices

TP: So there’s a kind of lifespan to the materials you use?
IS + SS:
These paper cutouts behave like ideas: extracted from the background that created them, they can become something else and grow in unexpected directions… or even die and disappear completely.

TP: What is it for you that ties all the images from the project together?
IS + SS:
Faux tableaux literally means fake paintings or pictures.There are so many visible, retinal images that we are bombarded with, but what about the invisible images, the images of our thoughts or feelings? How can we grasp those?


TP: You two do everything together – what’s it like working with another person to create a single series?
IS + SS:
We are among a rare species of artists that are able to present a single, seamless vision. We are one and the same thing in a deceptive form attempting to grasp the images that cannot be seen.
TP: Collage lets you replace parts of people with different things; if you could do the same for yourself, what would you add/take away?
IS + SS:
We would give voice to more and more identical thoughts that we’re already experiencing, and shapeshift them into huge balletic masks or objects of greater and ever stranger proportions.

Alpa Satin

Curious return of knobbly phrases with cauliflowers at their end

From the reality of the next day, passing through the municipal gallop of all routines under one carapace

The traveler from the spectacles

Staging movement as composition of unexpressed right angles in collapsed seriousness

Invented function for wake and rain

Looking forward to the future of painting




Fragments of the being who has disappeared trying to restore a soul


Gelicide Thural

Free-standing screens quietly listening to their conversation

And then it becomes less and less a retirement nest egg, but a dream of fateful limitations

On ages of history

Engines to interpret arbitrary comings and goings by rhythms of their beat

Standpoint for basic patterns of so-called life-marred-by-life weighing upon neglected bricks and wood