London to Paris

2000
Wood, Bronze
260 x 762 x 210 cm
Edition of 1

Commissioned by CASS in 2000, London to Paris is one of the last large-scale sculptures Eduardo Paolozzi made before his death. The piece depicts a flat wagon – a device used to transport goods by rail – loaded with the dismembered hands, feet and head of a mechanistic figure, as well as a number of abstract and industrially shaped objects. The piece was inspired by Paolozzi’s childhood memories of the long train journey he took each year from Scotland to Milan, changing in London and Paris. The varied components and materials that combine to form the sculpture typify Paolozzi’s masterful ability to create personal and sometimes brutal portraits, through a study of the everyday. Fascinated by the relationship between man and the mechanized world of the twentieth century, Paolozzi made frequent studies of engines and modes of transport experienced in his past, which Paolozzi described as a sequence of objects. In London to Paris elements of that sequence are organised into a sculptural collage, a process Paolozzi likened to cutting sentences out of a book and rearranging the components in order to create something beyond one’s deliberate conception. Here, he unites the disparate sequence of man and man-made components in order to create a surreal and dream-like encapsulation of a memory. The scientific and technological developments of the post–war era are another recurring subject in Paolozzi’s work.

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About The Artist

Paolozzi was described by JG Ballard as an artist whose work could be used as evidence to reconstruct the twentieth century in the event of a holocaust, and he has been one of Britain's leading sculptors since the 1940s. Acknowledged as the creator of British Pop Art, and a founding member of the ICA, Paolozzi's preoccupation with man and machine reveals the extent to which he brought art and science together. Paolozzi’s work was based on his interest in the mass media and new developments in science and technology of the post–war era; an exploration of the modern age. Paolozzi was a founder of the Independent Group in 1952, regarded as the precursor to the mid–fifties British and late–fifties American Pop Art movements. Paolozzi’s seminal 1947 collage; ‘I was a Rich Man’s Plaything’ is considered the earliest example of Pop Art. He was also influenced by industrial techniques, producing many of his early sculptures in aluminium, incorporating what appeared to be engine parts, brightly painted or finished in polished chrome. Human images that have mechanistic characteristics are his hallmark, as are the complex scenarios in the surrealist mechanical fantasies he produced in sculpture, collage, drawing and print.

‘London to Paris’ is currently on display

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Eduardo Paolozzi

Born: 1924