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fascination with ephemera is his abhorrence of waste. For that, he credits his Edinburgh upbringing in a culture which, he says ‘threw nothing away’. Some of his own works are made from other artists‘ throwaways and he has always encouraged his students to pick their materials out of skips.
He is intrigued by man’s relationship with industry, describing our position in society as governed by our attitude to machinery: ‘you can retreat from it or you can wrestle with it. . . Ithink it hangs like a great big shadow over all our lives.’ Machine and man converge in curious juxtaposition in his I prints and sc‘ulptures, always illustrating I new paradoxes. To the spectators who l question his interest in ‘primitive‘ African 5 and Asian art, Paolozzi counters that life in cities is also ‘primitive, highly ritualistic and l incredibly unsophisticated. One is i surrounded by people with city uniforms spending their lives pushing buttons with the i sole aim ofearning money. How primitive!’ ! Appropriately his favourite films are Blade I Runner and Metropolis.
Paolozzi’s rationale has been described as ' ‘the refusal to accept conventional notions of what art is and an incurable itch to try out everything at least once‘. He flirts with science and industry. making designs for purification plants and cooling towers, and has accepted two commissions for children’s playgrounds, encouraging them to climb on his sculptures, rather than treat them with reverence. From 1980 to 1984. Paolozzi refurbished Tottenham Court Road tube station. in his own inimitable techno-style. 3 ‘Art is a long word', he says, ‘which can be l stretched.’
Paolozzi has approached the Picardy Place 5 I challenge with all his usual vigour and I . imagination, describing the chequered 3 history ofthe Leith Walk area as ‘firmly united‘ with his own history. ‘I worshipped ' at St Mary‘s Cathedral. shOpped in the ; "WM stores formerly at the top of the Walk. “9' : 'L_ dreamed in the local cinema and played
Above: Paolozzi in his studio with a maquette oi the Picardy Place sculpture. Right: his mother Carmela stands outside the lamin shop in Leith. Below right: details lrom a Paolozzi print currently on show at the Edinburgh Printmakers Gallery. Below Iett: Paolozzi's pop art is littered with references to the popular ephemera otthe day. prompting the science-ﬁction writer J.G. Ballard to say at Paolozzi that ‘itthe entire 20th century were to vanish in some huge calamity. it would be possibleto reconstitute a large part at it trom his sculpture and screenprints.‘
around the Calton Hill columns and Leith Central Station.‘ The sculpture will reﬂect ; those memories: ‘Cast bronze column fragments echothe monumenton Calton ; Hill as well as the grandeur ofthe Cathedral: Q arrangements of paving stones call to mind ' the vanished shops and cinema: stones from Leith Central Station bring the actuality of the station to Leith Walk.‘
Photographs and maquettes of Paolozzi‘s three-part sculpture reveal an enormous bronze hand and foot in different stages of l preparation. Together they recall the poem ()z'r'mandias by Shelley — like the subject of the poem they appear to be the disembodied 2 remnants of an earlier sculpture too colossal A to imagine. The whole presents a work of breath-taking proportions. It is both curious ? and sad that Edinburgh should have waited i so long to honour one of its most illustrious offspring.
The Paolozzi sculpture will be unveiled sometime to wards the end of J ul y I I r 2. V ‘Sir Eduardo Paolozzi: Prints andSmall at. A , I . t . . _ ‘ ' . t 5 ' .S‘eulpture' opens at the Edinburgh
a \. ‘~ - Printmakers Gallery on Satolul. ‘The Italian Scots" opens at the National Gallery of Scotland on Mon IJul.
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