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Eduardo Paolozzi 1924-2005
T00812 Rizla 1965
Aluminium alloy, 65 x 83 x 59 (165 x 211 x 150).
Purchased from the artist through the Robert Fraser Gallery (Grant-in-Aid) 1965.
‘Rizla’ is one of a series of four works made largely from the same parts but assembled into different configurations. Some of these parts are standard sections, for example the square channels in the upper grill. Others are specially cast from designs made by the artist. The lower grill is made of such specially cast semi-cylindrical sections and the wavy framing of cast channels is made in this way with top and end pieces welded on. The serpent is made up of 90° and 180° curves of semi-cylindrical section.
Sub-assemblies are welded up out of individual parts and are as large as can be held against the polisher. Trial assemblies are made from these larger units and are tacked together by small welds which can be broken to permit new conjunctions, until the final arrangmenet is made and the whole welded together. This work is done on the factory floor by craftsmen under the supervision of the artist.
Paolozzi is interested in exploring techniques and processes that are not available to the artist in his own studio and means this to be visible in the finished object. The materials, processes and finishes provide him with visual and functional suggestions and, together with associated financial considerations, limit the choices of forms and assemblages the artist can make. Paolozzi feels that this imposes a kind of objectivity on the work and this is essential to the effect of it which is that of the transmutation of ordinary materials by ordinary processes into living, extraordinary and poetic things (summary of a conversation with the artist, February 1966).
The high shine, combined as it is with the slightly rippling surface produced by the process of casting, also provides constantly changing lights and reflections which are a substitute for the encrusted details and dazzle colouring of some of Paolozzi’s earlier work and compel the watchful interest of the spectator. The title is the brand name of a popular cigarette paper which, as he says, is a working-class indicator.
‘Rizla’ was listed in the catalogue of Paolozzi’s exhibition at the Pace Gallery, New York, January 1966 (12), but not shown. One of the four mentioned above, ‘Akapotic Rose’, 1965 was in the same exhibition (7).
Published in The Tate Gallery Report 1965–1966, London 1967.