Paul McCartney favourite dazzles at RedHouse

BASH, 1971, silkscreen in colours by Eduardo Paolozzi.
BASH, 1971, silkscreen in colours by Eduardo Paolozzi.

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