The collage as a flexible hieroglyph language of juxtaposition: A collage makes a statement.”
William Burroughs (1962)
The collages date to the mid-to-late fifties when Burroughs was living in Tangier and writing what was to become the text of Naked Lunch. As such, they offer a uniquely rare portrait of Burroughs’ state-of-mind while he was in the midst of creating what was to become one of the seminal works of the Beat movement.
Most obviously, these collages echo Burroughs’ famed “cut-up” technique and reflect the influence of long-time collaborator Brion Gysin, whom he would have recently met at the time of these creations. Perhaps more importantly, however, these works reveal Burroughs in many ways re-creating in visual form the “Interzone” of his early novels, an “imaginary city” which was “a combination of New York, Mexico City, and Tangier” in which he “construct[ed] hallucinatory, interconnected narratives for its numerous characters”