Sunday, March 13, 2016

Trash as Treasure

"Our culture decides, quite arbitrarily, what is waste and rubbish."
Sir Eduardo Paolozzi

The British Artist Sir Eduardo Paolozzi who is best known as a sculptor but whose collages and silkscreen prints document his artistic journey more accurately was a hoarder.  

As the Telegraph Newspaper’s obituary reported him as saying “I have an African or Indian approach to what I find. I like to make use of everything. I can't bear to throw things away - a nice wine bottle, a nice box. Sometimes I feel like a wizard in Toy town, transforming a bunch of carrots into pomegranates."

Found objects from junk yards and the streets often found their way into his sculptures that have been described as half human and half mechanical constructions; a totem for the 20th Century’s technological age. Whilst Paolozzi’s graphic works with their juxtaposition of American pin-ups and comic strip images are regarded as the foundation of British he British Pop Art movement.

Paolozzi didn’t see himself as a pop artist, but rather as a surrealist, an influence he acquired during his two years in Paris at the end of the 1940’s.

About which the Independent’s Adrian Hamilton claims Paolozzi has said of himself, “a Surrealist, playing games, mixing images and delving into the subconscious in an effort to create an art of the time for the time.

The son of Italian immigrant ice-cream vendors, Paolozzi, at the age of 15, was interned as an enemy alien during the Second World War. An experience that saw him elevate his ambition within the arts from commercial to fine.

After being demobilized from the Pioneer Corps by feigning insanity Paolozzi attended the Edinburgh College of Art followed by Saint Martin's School of Art and then the Slade School of Fine Art during the middle years of the forties.

Over the years, up until his death in 2005, Paolozzi embraced a variety of mediums and forms in his work keeping it fresh and exciting with the inspiration found in the repurposing others cast offs.

About which he has said “I still find that French approach; the need, the passion, to consider and handle things at the same time quite endearing – and very necessary for me. And it also justifies the reason to I had to leave London in the 1940s and go to France – just to show that I was not such an oddball. And I have lived by that ever since, the concern with different materials, disparate ideas – and to me that is the excitement; it becomes almost a description of the creative act – to juggle with these things.”  

The Yorkshire Sculpture Park has an exhibition of Paolozzi’s graphic works on show until the 12th of June.


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