Sir Eduardo Paolozzi

Conjectures to Identity


Not on display

Sir Eduardo Paolozzi 1924–2005
Printed papers and card on paper
Support: 759 × 511 mm
Purchased 1963

Display caption

Paolozzi described this collage as divided into two categories of ‘contemporary’ and ‘historical’. The contemporary element consists of largely abstract, coloured patterns made from striped wrapping paper and paper construction kits for children. The historical images include mechanical diagrams from technical instruction manuals from the 1910s, square patterns from Pearson’s Weekly in the 1920s, and the reproduction of a religious scene taken from The Electrical Wonders of the World, which illustrates the use of light effects for film production.

Gallery label, March 2007

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Catalogue entry


Inscr. ‘Eduardo Paolozzi 1963’ b.l.
Collage on paper, approx. 29 7/8×20 1/8 (76×51·25).
Purchased from the artist (Grant-in-Aid) 1963.
Exh: Waddington Galleries, September 1963 (9).

The Waddington Galleries exhibition of 1963 contained in addition a silkscreen print based on this work and two other collages. The artist's interest in this medium is also found in his film A History of Nothing and the book Metafisikal Translations, on both of which he was working in 1962 and in which he juxtaposed disparate images (see Jasia Reichardt, ‘Eduardo Paolozzi’ in London Magazine, II, No.12, March 1963, pp.41–2, excerpts repr. between pp.44 and 45).

The artist divides the elements in this collage into ‘Contemporary’ and ‘Historical’. The former are largely abstract: coloured patterns, striped wrapping paper and sections from French and German construction kits for children. The ‘Historical’ images include mechanical diagrams from German technical books published from 1902 onwards, square patterns from Pearson's Weekly in the 1920s, and a reproduction of a religious scene illustrating film lighting from a book, The Electrical Wonders of the World. (Letter from the artist, 9 December 1963.)

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, II

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