Collage, nuns, and plastic combs
‘Plastikcomb’ is an interesting name for a collage magazine, and the first page provides readers with a rather cryptic explanation. We see a school picture of a little boy, with a hand-written note above it: “Looking in a small mirror you scrape your hair back away from your eyes, changing yourself into a stranger. You take a seat on the stool, turn your legs to the left, your body towards the camera. This new version of you is captured in a flash, but the image is pasted in time.”
The artist Charles Wilkin is interviewed in the first feature printed in the magazine, and he describes experiencing the same wonder, as a child, when familiar people are seen, suddenly, in an entirely new light. Wilkin’s mother used to invite the nuns she worked with on holiday, and he was delighted by seeing them in a bizarre new context: “As a kid I was taught to revere nuns, so it was rather confusing and funny to see them in bathing suits, drinking beer, gossiping and behaving like ‘normal’ people”.
The plastic comb, as I understand it, functions as a metaphor for collage. Just as the comb sweeps back the little boy’s hair to reveal an entirely new person, superimposing one image on top of another can expose something startlingly new, which has, at the same time, always been there. Later in the interview, Wilkins describes his collage practise in similar terms to seeing the nuns on holiday. Collage is a radical shift in viewpoint: It’s “about finding some kind of truth or alternate reality that could be real if we simply change our perspective”.
Plastikcomb is an eclectic, visual feast of a magazine. Below we’ve photographed some of our favourite pages.