As the name suggests, Junk art refers to a kind of Material art, which focused on turning consumer society’s discarded or thrown away rubbish into art works.
The process of creating Junk art could be compared with translation. The objects were removed from the sphere of everyday life and integrated into art, giving them a new aesthetic and functional meaning.
The origins of Junk art date back to the early 20th century, when the Cubists and Futurists added old playing cards, newspaper cuttings, and small metal objects to collages and assemblages. Objet trouvé – the found objects that the Surrealists and Dadaists integrated into their works - and Décollage- faded and weathered posters torn down and turned into collages – also influenced the genre. The main representatives of Junk art included the American artist John Angus Chamberlain, Lee Bontecou, and Richard Stankiewicz. In Europe, artists such as César and Jean Tinguely practised Junk art in Neo-Dadaist and Nouveau Réalisme circles. From the 1950s, Junk artists incorporated a variety of items into their works. Alberto Burri (1915-95) for example, used sacks. Allan Kaprow (1927-2006) included old car tyres, and Robert Gober (born 1954) and Mario Merz (born 1925) created art works from bundles of newspapers. The term Junk art was coined by art critic Lawrence Alloway (1926-90) in 1961, deriving from "junk culture" - the term used to describe industrially manufactured products post-1950.