Monday, 23 February 2015

The car is the star

The rapid growth in the Fifties/Sixties of personal mobility courtesy of the motor car was a major factor in societal and cultural change.  Paolozzi was sensitive to this from the early Fifties – seen, for example in the collage/prints, Automobile Head, started in 1954. 

During the period of his fascination with American consumerist imagery, Paolozzi – as was Richard Hamilton – seems to have been particularly taken with the sculptural aspects of the more extreme examples of styling created by the U.S. manufacturers – especially the science fiction-like body panel fins, ornate chrome bumpers and light cluster detailing. 

Beyond these straightforward visual attractions, Paolozzi’s artistic practice was very much in tune with the concept of automotive mass production: relying on the assembling of a huge number of component parts and their availability, discretely, for the aftermarket – akin to Paolozzi’s continuous collecting/cropping of images and their use in endless collaged combinations. 

During his stays in the U.S. in the Sixties, Paolozzi apparently visited few art galleries or museums: "Instead he is reputed to have gone to Disneyland, to the wax museums of San Francisco and Los Angeles, to Frederick's lingerie showrooms and Paramount studios, the University of California computer centre, Stanford University's linear accelerator, the Douglas aircraft company in Santa Monica and the General Motors assembly line in Hayward." (Professor Sir Christopher Frayling). 

There’s possible homage too to Henry Ford in Paolozzi’s choice of Bunk! as the title of the 1972 print series, given Ford’s well known quote: ‘History is more or less bunk’. 

Here are the first five of ten General Dynamic F.U.N. prints featuring cars: 

EA # 713 Sex Crime Wave Rolling High:

EA # 736 Careers today. . . How children fail:

EA # 745 The accident syndrome, the Genesis of injury:

EA # 740 Risk-taking as a function of the Situation:

EA # 746 Smash hit, Good Loving, plus like a Rolling Stone, Slow Down etc.:





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