Top 5

Top 5 Space Invaders

Astronauts, space stations and all things space. Discover some intrepid space invaders!

1. Valentina Tereshkova

Evelyne Axell with her work Valentine in 1967

Evelyne Axell with her work Valentine in 1967
Estate of Evelyne Axell © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2015

Artists have been inspired by space travel since the 1960s when the first astronauts went to space.

This photograph shows artist Evelyne Axell (wearing a space helmet) standing by her portrait of Valentina Tereshkova. Valentina was the first woman to go in to space and was also the first civilian space traveller! Evelyne's artwork challenges ideas of power and equality in her work (making people aware that women can be space invaders as well as men!).

She uses a technique called assemblage, which means she used different materials and objects on her canvas. Here she uses a space helmet and a zip. What else can you make art out of?

2. Yuri Gagarin

Joe Tilson, ‘Transparency I: Yuri Gagarin 12 April 1961’ 1968
Joe Tilson
Transparency I: Yuri Gagarin 12 April 1961 1968
© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2021

Yuri Gagarin was the first person to journey into outer space when his spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth in 1961.

The artist Joe Tilson was a British pop artist. He was once a carpenter and made wooden and plastic constructions as well as prints and paintings. He often used children's toys, bold colours and pictures of celebrities, pop stars and advertisements to make his artworks.

3. Rockets

Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, ‘Bash’ 1971
Sir Eduardo Paolozzi
Bash 1971
© The Eduardo Paolozzi Foundation

To get to space you need a rather large rocket! The Soyuz spacecraft, which British astronaut Tim Peake went into space on, weighs seven tonnes and sits on a 50 metre high rocket!

Can you find the rocket in the artwork above?

Eduardo Paolozzi made this screen print. He has collaged lots of different imagery relating to space travel, new technology and the future. Have you made a collage before? What would this artwork look like if it was made about space travel today? What pictures would you use to make something about the future?

4. Space Dust

James Rosenquist, ‘Space Dust’ 1989
James Rosenquist
Space Dust 1989
© James Rosenquist/VAGA, New York and DACS, London 2021

What exactly is space dust? What does it look like? James Rosenquist has had a go at what he thinks it looks like in this artwork.

Rosenquist is a painter and an important pop artist. He puts bizarre or weird imagery together to make his artworks. Like other pop artists, he mainly finds his imagery in adverts. He also uses materials like plastic sheets, mirrors and neon lights. What kind of art would you make if it was meant to look like space dust?

5. Monuments

Naum Gabo, ‘Model for ‘Monument to the Astronauts’’ c.1966–8
Naum Gabo
Model for ‘Monument to the Astronauts’ c.1966–8
The Work of Naum Gabo © Nina & Graham Williams / Tate, London 2021

This model was made by artist Naum Gabo. The model shows his idea for a monument to celebrate astronauts. The monument would move and the neon tube glow at night so it would look like a floating wave-like form. It would be a brilliant sculpture to celebrate space travel!

What monument would you make for astronauts?

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