Review of ‘Eduardo Paolozzi at New Worlds’

Review of Eduardo Paolozzi at New Worlds by David Brittain (Savoy Books, 2013)

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Subtitled Science Fiction and Art in the Sixties, this superbly researched and well-expressed exploration into the art of New Worlds magazine – especially the influence and legacy of Eduardo Paolozzi – is tightly focussed and very entertaining. It includes a forward by the author, and introduction by artist and curator Rick Poynor.

New Worlds magazine, under the editorship of Michael Moorcock, moved quickly away from its science fiction roots to become, as described by Brittain: “a catalyst for change within the genre”. Turning its back on the pulp fiction of boys’ adventure yarns, the magazine became instead an avant-garde “controversial forum” for debate about art, literature and modern culture. David Brittain further explains that, “Moorcock possessed a maverick temperament and a strong sense of mission that brought him into conflict with tradition”. This led to the joining of many like-minded writers and artists such as Eduardo Paolozzi, JG Ballard, Charles Platt and Pamela Zoline. New Worlds also championed the likes of Wyndham Lewis, Mervyn Peake, William Burroughs and MC Esher.

Once they received a modest grant from The Arts Council of Great Britain they changed to a larger format allowing them greater flexibility for the inclusion of artwork and appreciations of artists such as Paolozzi. By 1967 Eduardo Paolozzi was the official artist, under the guise of ‘Aeronautics Adviser’.

David Brittain’s book contains colourful reproductions of many designs, covers, sculptures and collages by Paolozzi and others. The main section of the book is an extended essay entitled ‘Denizens of the Media Landscape’; followed by new interviews and a selection of extracts to give a taste of the New Worlds style and to contextualise Paolozzi’s work.

If you are fascinated by the relationship between popular literature, particularly literature, and visual art forms, then this book will interest you. Paolozzi’s style is experimental pop art employing collage, juxtaposition, technological iconography, machines, circuit boards and cybernetics. The forms he seemed to take pleasure in were sculpture, dot matrix, collage and test patterns.

I was particularly interested to read that Moorcock storyboards his own works before sitting down to write.

Bash 1971 by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi 1924-2005

‘Bash’ by Eduardo Paolozzi (Tate Gallery)

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