Eduardo Paolozzi b.Leith, Edinburgh 1924-2005 London
The eldest child of an Italian immigrant family, his formal art training began at Edinburgh College of Art. From 1944 until 1947 he attended the Slade School. Upon graduating he held his first one-man show at the Mayor Gallery and during the next two years lived in Paris becoming involved in Surrealism and Dubuffet’s art brut. Returning to London he taught textile design at the Central School of Art where he experimented with screenprinting. In 1951 he participated with other young artists in the Festival of Britain, the government’s “thank you” to the British people for the hardships they had endured during the Second World War, contributing sculpture and textiles.
A founder member of the Independent Group, he was to deliver the now legendary Bunk lecture at their inaugural meeting in 1952. A compulsive hoarder since childhood, this was profusely illustrated with pages collaged from comic books, pulp magazines and scientific journals - American by preference. Bunk is regarded as a milestone in the history of Pop Art. A boxed edition replicating each sheet was created twenty years later which was to prove to be Eduardo Paolozzi’s farewell gift to the movement.
Collage is the keyword to this artist’s work. His early sculptures, assemblages of junk culled from the detritus of the scrap yard assumed humanoid forms that later were to evolve into highly finished robotic shapes, some with reflective surfaces, others painted in bright colours.
His graphics rely on collage. After creating each image of As Is When, said by many to be the first masterpiece of the silkscreen medium, he reassembled its elements until the portfolio of thirteen plates was completed.
The use of collage was even extended to the moving image. In the 1960 film, The History of Nothing, unrelated objects appearing in no logical sequence are accompanied by an equally disjointed soundtrack.
Following his Pop period, his graphic work concentrated on the interpretation of music in a visual form.