Paolozzi, Eduardo, 1924-2005Alternative names
Sir Eduardo Luigi Paolozzi (1924-2005) British sculptor, collagist, printmaker, film maker and writer. Born in Scotland to Italian parents, Paolozzi attended evening classes at the Edinburgh College of Art in 1943 with a view to becoming a commercial artist. After brief military service, in 1944 he attended St Martin's School of Art in London, and from 1945 to 1947 he studied sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Art (then based in Oxford). In 1947 he had his first one-man show at The Mayor Gallery Ltd in London, and in the summer of that year he moved to Paris. He remained there until 1949, meeting artists such as Arp, Braque, Brancusi, Giacometti, Jean HÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€ Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â©lion, LÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€ Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â©ger and Tristan Tzara. He was attracted to Surrealist art and ideas and was also impressed by the art brut of Dubuffet. In the late 1940s he made various sculptures inspired by Surrealism, such as 'Forms on a Bow' and also produced a number of collages.
From 1949 to 1955 Paolozzi taught at the Central School of Art and Design in London. In 1951 he was commissioned to produce 'Fountain' for the Festival of Britain in London. At a meeting of the Independent group at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London in 1952 he gave his landmark lecture 'Bunk', in which he presented a selection of slide images taken from science fiction and other popular magazines. This serious look at popular culture heralded the Pop art aesthetic. The following year, with Henderson, Ronald Jenkins and Alison and Peter Smithson, he organized the 'Parallel of Life and Art' exhibition at the ICA,. In 1956 he collaborated on a section of the 'This is Tomorrow' exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London. Paolozzi's bronze sculptures of the 1950s contained elements that presaged his Pop works, including references to robots and the incorporation of found objects into the maquette before casting. He emerged fully onto the Pop Art scene in 1962 with his abstract, robot-like figures such as 'Four Towers' and 'Solo'.
By the mid-1960s these sculptures began to take on more geometric proportions, with glossy industrial finishes and bright primary colours. At the same time Paolozzi also began to produce collage-based screenprints which are among his most important contributions to Pop Art. These were often in series, for example 'As Is When' based on the life and work of Ludwig Wittgenstein. In the early 1960s Paolozzi developed a new way of creating his sculpture by collaborating with industrial engineering firms and eventually using aluminium. This led to a more severe machine style using rectilinear block elements, sometimes painted, as in 'Wittgenstein at Casino'. In the late 1960s he made a number of chrome-plated steel and polished bronze sculptures in simple curving forms, for example 'Osaka Steel'. With the film maker Denis Postle, Paolozzi made the black-and-white animated film, 'The History of Nothing' (1960-62), using a succession of collages. In the 1960s he also wrote books, including 'Metafisikal Translations' (1962), a fragmentary text full of references to his earlier work, and 'Kex' (1966), a long, dislocated narrative combined with found photographic images.
During the 1970s Paolozzi experimented with wood in a number of abstract relief works using an intricate network of geometric and biomorphic elements. In the 1980s he produced an increasing number of public sculptures, such as the stylized head of Expressionist theatre director Erwin Piscator (1980-81) in Euston Square, London. Others include the mosaic decorations (1980-83) for Tottenham Court Road underground station in London. Among his private work of the 1980s were a number of mutilated heads appearing as if badly pieced together from sections.
He taught all over the world as guest professor and lecturer, and was knighted in 1988. Eduardo Paolozzi died in 2005.
From the guide to the Photograph albums of sculptures by Eduardo Paolozzi, 1962-1971, (Tate Gallery Archive)