Saturday, 13 September 2014

Portfolio box and an interpretation summary

This is the box in which the portfolio was presented:

Within her catalogue for the 1977 V&A exhibition, ‘The Complete Prints of Eduardo Paolozzi: Prints, Drawing, Collages 1944-77’ Rosemary Miles wrote: 

In the philosophy itself Paolozzi discovered ideas which directly related to the visual arts.  In the Tractatus, his only philosophical book published in his lifetime, Wittgenstein dealt with the nature of language.  One of its central doctrines is the ‘Picture’ theory of meaning.  He discussed the spatial (in writing) and temporal (in speech) relationships between words and how they literally alter the sense, or pictorial image, of propositions (the difference between ‘My knife is to the left of my fork’ and ‘My fork is to left of my knife’ can be demonstrated pictorially).  He claimed that if some sentences did not at first look like pictures this was because language disguised them beyond all recognition.  A proposition is often composed of a more complex set of propositions which can be broken down or ‘atomised’. 

Paolozzi arranges and rearranges ‘Propositions’ which in turn often seem to be ‘atomised’ into more abstract patterns, symbolizing a greater complexity and abstraction of thought.  It is evident from Wittgenstein’s writing that a picture, to him, was not only the ‘painting, drawing or photograph . . . but also maps, sculptures, models and even such things as musical scores and gramophone records’.  Paolozzi’s use of such materials as crochet patterns, engineering diagrams and wrapping paper in the collages seems to reiterate this. 

Although Wittgenstein was not able to say exactly what constituted a ‘thought’, he could say that it is related to its expression in ordinary language by extremely complicated rules which we operate from moment to moment without knowing what they are.  In Philosophical Investigations Wittgenstein proposes that that in language we play games with words.  To understand the meaning of a word we must study it through the rules of the game to which it belongs.  Fascinated by toys and games himself, Paolozzi applied this theory to the use of ‘pictorial’ language, analysing and reorganising the juxtaposition or ‘syntax’ of the ‘vocabulary’ or pictorial elements and by doing so he attended to the nuances of pictorial composition in the same way that Wittgenstein attended to the nuances of speech.  As the ‘syntax’ varies or different rules of the ‘game’ are applied so the total image changes.

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