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Surrealism Meets the Baroque Era in These Digital Collages

Marcel Lisboa creates fragmented worlds inspired by the Baroque era.
February 14, 2016, 4:00pm

Collage continues to be a powerful medium for communicating complexities. The layering of meaningful images and symbols creates a visual language that invites ours eyes to put the pieces together as if they were staring at an incomplete puzzle. Today, the use of digital tools creates even more possibilities for the medium.

São Paulo-based graphic designer Marcel Lisboa continually experiments with digital collage to travel in time and explore human nature. In his pieces, he mixes imagery from the Baroque era with his own visual language. While working in advertising, Lisboa learned to employ the eye-catching colors and glossy imagery of our visual culture to draw in the viewer’s gaze. He also finds inspiration in the work of modern artists like Richard Hamilton, who turned the collage into a commentary on contemporary living and capitalism. Despite all these disparate influences, the final composition of each piece shows a distinct style all his own.


Between the Lines, for example, feels like a visual scavenger hunt for the viewer. A woman sits with a closed mouth and pupil-less eyes. An eye on her forehead mimics the same ones that cover the surface of floating boxes in the background. A natural landscape with an ethereal color scheme creates a hallucinogenic scene. In her hand, the ominous figure holds a handkerchief and a gold necklace that appears to be on fire. Two bugs hover over her still face.

In each digital collage, Lisboa merges the classic with the contemporary in a surreal way. The graphic designer was drawn to the Baroque era because of its tendency towards the decadent, and its distinct clothing style. The figures in his pieces are regal and sophisticated, decked out in the unmistakable accessories of their time.

“I think this era was fantastic,” Lisboa tells The Creators Project. “All the symbolism, the obscure, the sensuality attracts me. And the clothes of this era I like a lot too. The men were kind [of] androgynous with those fancy clothes. And I use this androgynous aspect a lot in my work, to make a reflection about sexuality.”

Lisboa also creates his pieces as a reflection on the relationship between man and nature. He imagines a time “in our pre-western colonization” when man perhaps "lived in harmony" with nature. A certain nostalgia comes through in each piece, even as they might incite a sense of foreboding in viewers. With such a confluence of meanings, the works leave enough room for viewers to come up with their own interpretations.


Lisboa lets his imagination take over as he puts each image together. This instinctive process ultimately leads him to each final composition.

“In my personal work I do not plan anything,” writes Lisboa. “It all comes up to my mind and I try to put it [on] a blank paper.”

You can find some of Marcel Lisboa's work here.


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