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The beauty of art lies in constantly trying new and innovative ideas to create artworks which are better than the previous ones. It is this quest for creating newer and newer things that encourage artists to experiment; and in turn it is this creative urge within that has prompted artists to come up with various art forms. One such art form is Montage.
What is Montage Art?
The term Montage can be used in various contexts. In French, the word "montage" in relation to cinema simply means editing. While, in Russian, it denotes symbolism.
If one were to search for the meaning of ‘Montage’ in the dictionary, it would define Montage art as an art form where there is ‘a production of a rapid succession of images in a motion picture to illustrate an association of ideas’. The montage sequences often combine numerous short shots put together to create one shot having complete information. This single shot contains many special optical effects like fading, dissolving, split screen etc. along with dance, music and voice over. This is done in order to present maximum information in least possible time or space in the most effective manner.
Montage art form can be used for all possible art like video, audio or still pictures. While video montage involves superimposing multiple video clips, an audio or radio montage uses sound clips. Similarly, a montage in painting can be understood as a composite picture made by combining several separate pictures about paintings.
In motion pictures, Montage is commonly used as an editing technique to assemble separate, yet related pieces of a moving story or a film. These separate clips may be cut out of various raw videos or may already exist as multiple clips. These clips are then combined together, in a creative manner, into a sequence, so that it tells one single story. Using a montage, an artist can carefully and creatively put together several pieces of audio and video clips, piece by piece to tell one single story.
Talking about still paintings, a Montage is an assembly of images that relate to each other in some way to create a single work or part of a work of art.
History of Montage:
The montage art technique was first developed in cinema, primarily through the work of American directors Edwin Porter and D.W. Griffith. However, the montage art is still associated with the Russian editing techniques, which were introduced to American audiences through montage sequences of Slavko Verkapich in films in the 1930s.
Development of Montage:
Though there are various methods of creating a montage. But, two of the most common montage devices used by various artists are called ‘Newsreel’ and ‘Railroads’.
Newsreel as a montage device involves showing multiple images of newspapers. This montage shows a typical newspaper printing press shot, where there are some papers moving between the rollers, while some other copies are coming out as final output, and then a pressman looking at the paper, finally culminating in highlighting zooming on the screen to communicate the main news. On the other hand, ‘Railroad’ as a montage device involves shots of engines racing toward the camera, followed by giant engine wheels moving across the screen, and long trains racing past the camera as destination signs fill the screen.
Then, there is another montage device, which can be used as multiple screen montage. Called ‘Scroll Montage’, it has been specifically developed for the moving image in an internet browser. This montage device is commonly used in online audio-visual work in which sound and the moving image are separated and can exist autonomously.
One very common and often termed ‘clichéd’ use of montage is when a sports person goes through a failure and then decides to go through rigorous training. In this case, the training involves a series of separate trainings. The sportsperson is shown engrossed in different training regimes through a series of short, cut sequences. A motivational song is played in the background to give the desired effect. And at the end of the montage, which typically lasts for few minutes, many weeks have elapsed and our sportsperson is now ready to face the big battle. There have been several movies made in Hollywood and even Indian cinema, which have effectively used this technique to cover a long story in a short span of time and that too in an effective manner.
Montage is the art of producing a new composite whole by superimposing miscellaneous fragments of photographs, pictures, texts or music. This method when used to create a hybrid image by blending in multiple images produces a photomontage. In films montage is used when a sequence of shots are edited to follow each other in rapid succession, thus conveying a lot of information in a comparatively shorter span of time. Russian filmmaker, Sergie Eisenstein was the one who pioneered and developed this method. For him, montage was the collision of a number of different shots which when put together created a whole new meaning for the audience. Radio montage on the other hand is similar to film type but just uses sound in place of images. Thus, by using this technique an artist or an advertiser can evoke specific emotions or moods, which might not be possible with a single straight element.