Michael Middleton, Eduardo Paolozzi, Methuen Art in Progress Series, London,1963, illustrated
In the period 1951-1956, Paolozzi had moved away from sculpture and had been predominantly experimenting with collage and printmaking. Around 1956, Paolozzi moved into a new phase of sculptural creativity, which was in turn a period of making which would last for another five years. In the collage method he had now come to see a possible application to sculptural techniques. The series of pathetic lumbering junk monsters which resulted comprised his most impressive pieces to that time. Fittingly they formed the body of his second representation at the Venice Biennale in 1960.
Paolozzi had been used to using sheets of objects as a material for his collages and sculptures, but distrusted the ephemeral nature of these works ...'Nothing would disturb me more, than to see a few years after completing on of my sculptures, that some of the objets trouvés of the epidermis ...had become detached or lost'. It now became apparent to him that by the lost wax technique, an equivalent method could be applied to sculpture, but in such a way that its characteristics were given permanence.
Briefly, from a repertoire of found and fabricated objects, he took first a series of negative impressions in clay; from these moulds he prepared wax sheets, pullulating with surface echoes of urban bric-a-brac; these in turn he assembled, folded carved and modeled into precarious presences, up to six feet high; the results were then cast.
Paolozzi has listed some of the objects to hand which interested him. They include a dismembered lock, toy frog, rubber dragon, toy camera, clock parts, broken comb, parts of a radio, and natural objects such as pieces of bark. By their transmutation into a common material, these things lost a measure of their individuality, assuming rather the residual character of fossils. The deteitus for the most part of a mechanistic world, they nontheless suggested timelessness, the figures they comprised, archetypal 'presences' or totems.
Paolozzi was born of Italian parents in Edinburgh, Scotland. He began his studies at the Edinburgh College of Art in 1943 and from 1944-47 he studied at the Slade School of Art in London. He then moved to Paris, where he met Giacometti and was influenced by Dadaism and Surrealism. In 1951, while he was professor at the Central School of Art, he won his first important sculptural commission - a fountain for the Festival of Britain. He later became professor at the St. Martin's School of Art and has also taught in Hamburg, Germany and at the University of California in Berkeley. His work as a sculptor and print-maker is of major importance. The Scottish Gallery of Modern Art holds a large collection of his work, including a recreation of his studio, at the Dean Gallery, Edinburgh.