Summer 2009

Metafisikal experiments

The Jet Age Compendium: Paolozzi at Ambit

By Eduardo Paolozzi. Introduction by David Brittain.
Four Corners Books, £12.95

[This is an extract from Eye no. 72 vol. 18 Summer 2009. To order the full, printed magazine click the online shop button or ‘Subscribe’.]

It has always surprised me that Eduardo Paolozzi, who died in 2005, doesn’t have more admirers among designers and image-makers working in the field of visual communication. The Scottish artist had a brilliantly graphic eye, a command of form, colour, pattern, visual rhythm, montage and design that few graphic artists of the era could match. He began collecting images from popular culture in the 1940s – pulp magazine covers, tin can labels, cartoon characters – and pasted them together as collages in scrapbooks. As a member of the Independent Group in the 1950s, his preoccupation with American advertising and the imagery of the entertainment industry anticipated the concerns of Pop Art. In the 1960s, when his interests turned from sculpture to printmaking, he produced screenprints that still look astonishingly definitive and mythic in their complex synthesis of imagery drawn from science, mass media, technology, comic books, Hollywood and the military. ...

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