Sir Eduardo Paolozzi

Amir Amur

1967

Medium
Steel
Dimensions
Object: 1892 x 724 x 533 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1971
Reference
T01477

Display caption

Amir-Amur suggests both the futuristic imagery of science fiction and the gleaming, polished sculptures associated with such modernist artists as Constantin Brancusi. Amir is a title given to Muslim leaders, Amur is a region in Siberia. Paolozzi found the terms in a merchant''s code book. In the book, nonsense phrases like ''Amir-Amur'' were used to designate specific business transactions

Gallery label, August 2004

Catalogue entry

Eduardo Paolozzi 1924-2005

T01477 Amir Amur 1967

Not inscribed.
Chromed steel, 74½ x 28½ x 21 (189.5 x 72.5 x 53.5).
Purchased from the artist (Grant-in-Aid) 1971.
Exh: Tate Gallery, September–October 1971 (52, repr.)
Repr: Diane Kirkpatrick, Eduardo Paolozzi, 1970, p.74.

Two identical cylinders, set into identical bases of rectangular plan and semi-circular section. There is also a version in stainless steel. At the same time as T01477, Paolozzi made two other sculptures on the same theme of twin cylinders set in twin bases, the height of the cylinders and size of the bases being varied; one of these, ‘Twefx’, is reproduced in the Tate Gallery exhibition catalogue cited above.

The artist told the compiler (conversation, 7 June 1972) that in making T01477 and related works he was reacting against the complexity of process involved in making his sculptures of the mid-1960’s, most of which had involved multiple castings. This group of works was also an attempt to realise what, in a science fiction sense, might be imagined as ‘the art of the future'—streamlined, gleaming, and ‘machine art’ (i.e. entirely the product of machines). T01477 was therefore entirely reliant on the techniques of a machine shop, except that at the last stage it required polishing by hand.

In making T01477 and related works, Paolozzi also had in mind some of Brancusi’s sculptures, especially those that were highly polished.

The titles of T01477 and the other sculptures in the same series were taken from a code book of words and phrases for use in commerce (in which a single conventionally meaningless phrase like ‘Amir-Amur’ would carry a particular meaning, such as ‘3,000 bales of cotton despatched today’ or ‘cancel our last order’).

Published in The Tate Gallery Report 1970–1972, London 1972.