A collage piecing together a scene from a luncheon with guests, glassware, and a room with wood paneling

David Hockney, Luncheon at the British Embassy, Tokyo, Feb. 16, 1983, 1983. Photocollage, 1168 x 2108 mm (46 x 83 in.). Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Anderson Graphic Arts Collection, gift of the Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson Charitable Foundation, 1996.74.183


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Photo/Synthesis highlights the dynamic trend in the field of contemporary photography, collages, assemblages, and other multi-part or composite photo-based projects. Dating from the 1960s to the present, the works in this exhibition transcend the limitations of traditional photography in which the camera simply captures a unique view or a decisive moment in time. Breaking free of the conventional frame, they are instead the products of various methods of assembling and organizing multiple photographic images into larger artistic statements. In each case, the sum communicates much more than the component parts.

Artists like David Hockney, Olafur Eliasson, Ed Ruscha, and Nigel Poor have used photo-collage, photo-assemblage, and related practices to explore elements of scale, space, time, and narrative. Photo/Synthesis features a selection of photographs by these artists and others from the collections of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and Charles and Diane Frankel.

Currently on view