Paul McCartney favourite dazzles at RedHouse

BASH, 1971, silkscreen in colours by Eduardo Paolozzi.
BASH, 1971, silkscreen in colours by Eduardo Paolozzi.
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Review by Weekend Editor Graham Chalmers

He may not be quite as famous as Richard Hamilton and Peter Blake but a new exhibition at RedHouse Originals in Harrogate emphasises that Eduardo Paolozzi was, if anything, even more important in the history of Pop Art.

This sci-fi obsessed Scottish-Italian artist, who died in 2005 is probably best known in the wider world for his mosaic designs on the walls of The Tube at Tottenham Court Road Station - that and being a favourite of Paul McCartney.

Indeed, some of the dramatic juxtapositions featured in Eduardo Paolozzi: The Wizard in Toytown can also be seen in the elaborate gatefold sleeve and booklet he designed for the ex-Beatle’s 1973 album Red Rose Speedway.

These, in themselves, make a visit to Harrogate’s coolest art gallery worthwhile.

For fans of colourful collages, this is a real treat, containing many examples of Paolozzi’s dazzling approach to the art - curvy, cut-outs of the famous (Marilyn Monroe, in particular), tile-like rectangular patterns, robot toys for boys, cuttings from popular magazines.

As run by young gallery owners Richard McTague and Jon Kendall, there’s usually a zing about the way RedHouse exhibitions are launched.

Past shows have seen personal appearances by famous guests (Peter Blake and Howard Mark). On this occasion, a handpulled barrel of beer has been provided by Knaresborough micro-brewery Roosters.

But it’s the art that always goes down best. The real revelation of this outstanding exhibiton of original collages, unique lithographs and silkscreens from 1965-2000 comes in the room upstairs devoted to Paolozzi’s BUNK! series.

A series of 45 silkscreen prints laid to paper in the style of the original collages produced by the artist between 1947 and 1952, this amazing collection re-writes history.

These groundbreaking photomontages from consumer society in the early post-war world reveal that Paolozzi was a rock n roller before there was rock n roll, a Pop Artist before the term was invented.

Pre-dating the likes of Richard Hamilton’s Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing? and Peter Blakes’s On The Balcony by a good 10 years, striking pieces like I was a Rich Man’s Plaything from 1947 (the first recorded artwork to include the word ‘Pop’) prove Paolozzi was just as futuristic as the sci-fi magazines and books he loved.

Eduardo Paolozzi: The Wizard in Toytown. RedHouse Originals gallery, 15 Cheltenham Mount.

Runs until May 4.

More information at www.redhouseoriginals.com