Vital Fragments: Nigel Henderson and the Art of Collage

  • 9 December 2019

Vital Fragments: Nigel Henderson and the Art of Collage, a Spotlight Display at Tate Britain, opened last week. It has been co-curated by the Centre’s Director Mark Hallett and Rosie Ram of the Royal College of Art, with the assistance of Tate Britain’s Zuzana Flaskova.

The artist Nigel Henderson (1917–1985) pursued a creative career that spanned fine art, photography, exhibition-making and interior design initiatives. Vital Fragments focuses on the artist’s experimental collage practice, which underpinned much of his thinking. Henderson’s collages combine printed matter, paint and photography, and activate fragments of image and text in new ways. He wrote: ‘I want to release an energy of image from trivial data. I feel happiest among discarded things, vituperative fragments cast casually from life, with the fizz of vitality still about them.’

Four screens showing collage artwork.

Pallant House Gallery, Wilson Gift, Nigel Henderson, Screen,

The display, which runs until 5 April 2020, includes one of Henderson’s most ambitious collage works, Screen (1949–52 and 1969), on loan from Pallant House Gallery. To accompany this work, twelve short films have been made by Hallett, Ram and the Centre’s Research Fellow and Film-maker, Jon Law. These films are available to watch online here.

Read more about the research project that generated the Tate Britain Spotlight Display, and read the guide to the Display.