Collage, the artist John Stezaker suggest, may be a yearning for a lost world that reflects a universal sense of loss, yet the medium is not about an imaginary retrieval of the past but about the impossibility of return: a condition of exile. In other words, collage gives expression to an inescapable condition, for which it offers a kind of consolation, and one might argue that only by accepting and coming to terms with this loss, which is real, can we live more fully in the present with open eyes. 
(Rick Poynor)