Mindful Art – inspired by Eduardo Paolozzi

Many of you who have visited the Gallery of Modern Art’s ‘Taste’ exhibition in gallery 2 will most likely remember the wonderful colourful sculpture ‘Hamlet in a Japanese Manner’ by Eduardo Paolozzi (1924-2005). Paolozzi is arguably one of the UK’s most influential post war artists and he was decorated with a Knighthood in 1989. He could be considered as a key pioneer of the ‘Pop Art’ movement with his powerful and revolutionary screen prints, collages and sculptures. 

Paolozzi continued to experiment with alternative mediums and processes throughout the 1960s, producing pivotal aluminium sculptures such as Diana as an Engine (1963) made up out of brightly coloured parts of machinery and enhanced by references to classical mythology. Highlights also include the four-metre wide Whitworth Tapestry (1967) that demonstrates Paolozzi’s novel use of pattern, colour and everyday culture across different media.

In 1974, Paolozzi was awarded a residency in West Berlin. Inspired by the music of composers, including Charles Ives, and with an interest in linguistics, Paolozzi converted the geometric shapes, modular approaches and rhythmic patterns produced during this active period into intricate reliefs, prints and sculptures, as seen in the series Calcium Light Night (1974-6)

In 1981, Paolozzi produced a series of six prints titled: Mein Kolner Dom: Blueprint for a New Museum. The edition stems from the work which he was invited to submit for exhibition at the Cologne Cathedral celebration of 1980. You can see these prints also in the Taste exhibition in GoMA, the prints are from an edition of 50 published by the artist in 1981. Find out more about this inspiring artist from the Paolozzi Foundation and view his first major retrospective exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery (2017).

Let’s take inspiration from this series of prints for our Mindful Art session. Take note of the way Paolozzi layers imagery, textures, shape and tones to build up an image. He lets his imagination run as he builds up the complicated and intricate patterns and imagery. The overall look of the prints is otherworldly, futuristic and almost as though the world has been taken over by the ‘machines’.

First of all find your favourite relaxing music, or choose some meditation music from Youtube and get your materials ready. For this you only need: newspapers, scissors, glue and….your imagination!

Take your time to flick through the newspaper and start to cut out strips of interesting patterns, tones and shapes. It is a good idea to get quite a lot of these ready before you begin to stick them down onto the paper with the glue. Prior to sticking with the glue experiment and play with the composition, you do not only need to make one final image but perhaps 3 or 4. If you have a sketchbook – this is a nice way to fill up a few pages.

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