Eduardo Paolozzi’s gorilla tactics
If anyone ever blathers on to me about Warhol or Lichtenstein or even Jasper Johns as being the kickstarter for pop art (and let me tell you, it’s an almost weekly annoyance) then I merely whip out a print of Eduardo Paolozzi’s I was a Rich Man’s Plaything from my wallet and ejaculate: “1947! That’s when this was made!” It shows a collage featuring many of the tropes that would go on to make up much of pop’s DNA: Coca Cola, a pretty woman and a gun which – and here’s the clincher – has the word “POP!” flashing out of its barrel. Paolozzi made a whole series of collages around this time featuring images culled from magazines given to him by American ex-servicemen. He named them Bunk!, which was taken from Henry Ford’s famous maxim that “History is more or less bunk… We want to live in the present”, and that’s exactly what Paolozzi was doing, living in the present but projecting a new landscape of upfront sex and consumerism back at itself. A series of prints taken from these collages was made in 1972 and they will be displayed here alongside the show Pre-pop to Post-human: Collage in the Digital Age, a collection of newly-commissioned prints inspired by the Paolozzi’s ground-breaking work.
Eduardo Paolozzi’s Bunk! 25 January-17 May, The Hatton Gallery, Newcastle University. hattongallery.org.uk