Visitors to Yorkshire Sculpture Park‘s major KAWS exhibition (running till 12 June) will be treated to a concurrent show that gives a fascinating glimpse into the melting pot of influences that lie behind the American artist’s iconic works.
Using Surrealism and Dadaism as a springboard, Scottish artist Eduardo Paolozzi went on to define post-war Brit art, and is oft-regarded as a pioneer of Pop Art; his fixation with American consumerism, Cold War iconography, and low-brow mass culture, a starting point for many of today’s artists — not least KAWS, with who Paolozzi shared an obsession with pop culture and toys.
With works as varied as his celebrated mosaics at Tottenham Court Road underground station (recently saved from destruction by University of Edinburgh) and the cover for Paul McCartney and Wings’s Red Rose Speedway, Paolozzi’s works here were gifted to YSP by the artist in 1994, and take the form of chaotic graphic works that embody his preoccupation with trashy American culture; much of it created at the height of the Cold War. Friend and collaborator, revered dystopian writer J.G. Ballard, described Paolozzi’s collection General Dynamic F.U.N. as a ‘unique guidebook to the electric garden of our minds’ — and it’s a statement befitting the other series that are on show here: the hallucinogenic prints of Zero Energy Experimental Pile, pop culture inflected Moonstrips Empire News, and BUNK, which studies our distorted relationship with technology, consumption, and waste.
Eduardo Paolozzi at Yorkshire Sculpture Park runs until 12 June.