Paolozzi, Eduardo, 1924-2005

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 Hélion, Léger 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'.


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