Eduardo Paolozzi was born in Leith, Edinburgh. He served with the Pioneer Corps during World War II, and studied at the Ruskin School of Art, Oxford and later at the Slade School of Fine Art, London. He had his first exhibition at the Mayor Gallery whilst still a student and with the proceeds from sales went to Paris where he lived for two years. He has taught in art schools in the United Kingdom, Germany and the USA, was Professor of Sculpture at the Akademie der Bildenden Kunst, Munich from 1981 to 1991. He was appointed Her Majesty’s Sculptor-in-Ordinary for Scotland in 1986 and knighted in 1989.
A period of two years in Paris in the late 1940s brought him into direct contact with new ideas in art, particularly with primitive art at the Musée de l’Homme. Under the influence of Dada and Surrealism, Paolozzi began to develop his distinctive collagist approach to handling material. In 1952 Paolozzi was co-founder of the Independent Group which had a particular interest in mass media and the new developments in the science and technology of the post-war era. Based at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, the group set a new programme of aesthetics attacking the cosiness of post-war British culture, and promoting the urban over the pastoral, the public over the private mode of expression, the embrace of ‘commercialism; and mass marketing. Paolozzi’s sculptures of this period were totemic machine-age figures , mostly executed in aluminium and either brightly polished or painted. At the same time he produced three important series of collage-based prints.
In 1952 his work was included in the 1957 Sao Paulo Bienal and in the exhibition New Aspects of British Sculpture shown at the British Pavilion for the XXVI British Pavilion. He represented Britain again at the XXX Venice Biennale with a retrospective exhibition, for which he was awarded the David E Bright Foundation Award for the Best Sculptor under 45. A retrospective was shown at the Tate Gallery in 1971 and an exhibition of sculpture and graphics was mounted at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in 1994 to celebrate his 70th birthday. Paolozzi has undertaken many commissions including the ceramic wall murals in Tottenham Court Road Underground Station and a large bronze sculpture, Newton after Blake www.bl.uk, for the new British Library, both in London. The most comprehensive collection of Paolozzi’s work is now housed at the National Galleries of Scotland Dean Centre, which opened in 1999 www.natgalscot.ac.uk.
Turning Points: 20th Century British Sculpture, British Council and Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art 2004
Eduardo Paolozzi Sculpture, Drawings, Collages and Graphics, Arts Council of Great Britain, London, 1976
Rosemary Miles, The Complete Prints of Eduardo Paolozzi 1944 - 77, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1977