'Harold, the Ghost of Lost Futures' is a large-scale collage which, in the summer of 2019, was situated within Modern Two. It was created for the National Galleries of Scotland by Christopher Spencer (better known as ‘Coldwar Steve’) to coincide with the Cut and Paste | 400 Years of Collage exhibition.
Since 2016, Coldwar Steve has amassed a large and loyal following on Twitter (@ColdWar_Steve), where he posts surreal and satirical collages, many featuring political figures such as Boris Johnson, Kim Jongun and Donald Trump, and celebrities such as Cilla Black, Danny Dyer and Cliff Richard. The one constant presence is the actor Steve McFadden (Phil Mitchell in Eastenders).
Coldwar Steve is the latest in a long tradition of individuals who have used collage as a way of satirising the establishment from the outside. As such his digital collages follow in the footsteps of Peter Blake’s collaged cover for the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the animations of Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam, and Jamie Reid’s iconic artwork for the Sex Pistols. This tradition is part of the broader story of collage that was told by the Cut and Paste exhibition.
Coldwar Steve himself said the following about the collage: “For this composition, I wanted to move away from my usual Brexit dystopian hellscapes, to produce something visually and spiritually uplifting. I was inspired by Martin Creed’s neon ‘Everything Is Going to Be Alright’ installation, which is blazoned across the gallery’s frieze. Martin Creed almost certainly wasn’t implying that everything is actually going to be alright, but I thought that even in the depths of despair, it is somewhat comforting to remember that a large part of Britain is still wonderfully diverse, compassionate and inspirational. This enormous collage is a celebration of Britain's diverse and creative magnificence.”
Coldwar Steve on collage
Christopher Spencer (AKA Coldwar Steve) discusses 'Harold, the Ghost of Lost Futures' and takes a look at some of the collages displayed in the 'Cut and Paste' exhibition.Download transcript