Sir Eduardo Luigi Paolozzi (7 March 1924 – 22 April 2005) was a Scottish sculptor and artist, who created some of the finest examples of British pop art, a style he was widely considered to be one of the pioneers of.

 

His parents ran a small ice-cream parlour in northern Edinburgh which he seemed destined to inherit. However, he liked to draw as a child and aspired to become an artist or draftsman. After completing his studies in the Slade School of Fine Art at the University College London, he worked in Paris, becoming acquainted with modern artists such as Alberto Giacometti and Georges Braque. He produced basic collages from magazines in Paris. His later work was influenced by this period. The influence of Giacometti and other surrealists can be seen in his wax sculptures made in the 1950s.

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Moving back to London, his studio was filled with a great number of random objects such as toys, books, and sculptures, that he used in his work, chiefly collages. He also established a textile and ceramics design company (Hammer Prints Limited) during that time. However, it was when he created a variety of screenprints and worked on several architectural endeavours that he came to the public’s attention. His work portrayed mechanical forms and robots, symbolic of the contemporary era of technological advancement and the rise of robotics. He is recognized for his large sculptures characterized by their rectangular forms and human figures often reconstructed in a cubist manner, as seen in his ‘Newton’ and ‘Faraday’ works.

 

Graphic work produced by Paolozzi in the 1960 and 1970s was characterized by pop culture references and technological imagery with quasi-human forms. He primarily created work using the silkscreen medium during this period. His work was also influenced by the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein.

 

Bash (1971)

Throughout his lifetime, Paolozzi has collected fragments of objects from newspapers and magazines that he showed in his work such as this to create a collage image. There are mechanical forms and pictures of robots and astronauts that give us a view of the technological advancements and newfound public interest. There are many popular culture references from books, films, celebrities and astronauts. The mixture of these images presents us with an energetic, colourful chaotic yet harmonious feel that resounded with the masses. Bash gives us a strong view of the present but also an imaginative and hopeful vision of the future with its images of space landings and rockets.

 

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