‘Eduardo Paolozzi was one of the most prolific, innovative and surprising artists from Britain. Never one to be told what to do, Paolozzi broke all conventions of art and consistently reinvented himself and his work,’ explains Daniel F. Herrmann, curator at the Whitechapel Gallery.
The East London gallery has recently unveiled a major retrospective of the Scottish Pop pioneer’s expansive artistic endeavours, some 250 plus works traversing a landmark career that took in five decades and some of contemporary art’s most significant movements. From brutalist sculptures in the 1940s to revered public art in the 1980s (the celebrated mosaics at Tottenham Court Road underground station definitely his most-seen work), Paolozzi’s restless creativity saw him tinker with everything from record sleeves to collages, print work to textile and fashion design; and just about anything else in between.
Split into four chronological sections, the comprehensive retrospective charts the path of a radical thinker with a deep-seated hunger for experimentation. Diana as an Engine I, a 1963 aluminium sculpture that could be seen as a precursor to Ettore Sottsass’s Memphis movement; frenetic collage works that echo contemporaries like Robert Rauschenberg; figurative sculptures that dominated his late work in the 1990s; a career-long obsession with American throw-away culture, toys and mass-marketing … eternally uncompromising, consistently influential, Eduardo Paolozzi‘s feverish reinventions confirm him as one of the 20th century’s true art greats. Stocked with rarely exhibited works and lesser-known aspects of his fidgety practice, this retrospective is vital viewing.
Eduardo Paolozzi continues at Whitechapel Gallery, London, until 14 May.