Quite an unpleasant critique by Otto Saumarez of Paolozzi’s oeuvre in Apollo magazine, 4th May issue. Saumarez highlights Eduardo’s “willingness to embrace ugliness and discordance” in a negative sense. I would suggest that this attribute, coupled with an ability to find and use images/objects of great beauty, was vital in Paolozzi’s achievements in creating artworks with multi-dimensional relevances and interpretations.
The critique suggests that Paolozzi’s modernism is, “far removed from the elegant smoothness of Henry Moore as it is possible to imagine.” I’d say however that endless reiterations of that elegant smoothness leave us with a very predictable and non-stimulating oeuvre, whereas Paolozzi delights with ever-changing, fresh and thought-provoking work in a range of media.
Saumarez claims in regard to Pop that Paolozzi, “has none of the panache brought to the style by its best purveyors.” I thought it had long ago been accepted that Paolozzi was never, simplistically, a “Pop Artist” and once you’ve reviewed the scope of the print series such as Moonstrips, you certainly won’t be thinking of its creator as someone lacking panache!
In this blog, and elsewhere, I’m happy to admit that I’ve never liked Paolozzi’s sculpture as much as the graphic work. However, I would consider the Sixties/early Seventies pieces – often with echoes of forms/ideas seen in the print series – very evocative of the spirit of experimentation/use of industrial techniques which characterises that period. To refer to, “the vacuous slickness of his aluminium and chrome-plated sculptures of the mid to late ’60s,” has no relationship to reality in my view. I may be being a bit thick, but I don’t detect any vacuous slickness about this 1969 ‘Study for ‘Osaka Steel:"
Courtesy N. J. Cotterell