Paolozzi Bunk

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<ul><li><p>EDUARDO PAOLOZZIS SERIES of forty-five Bunk collages,made by the artist in Paris and London from around 1947 to1952, are often considered as prototypical works of Pop art.Evadne in green dimension (Fig.22), from which the seriesderives its title, is typical in its presentation of consumergoods, sex symbols and richly toned food advertisements, allcut from American magazines and combined in a dynamiccomposition. In contrast to other collages made by Paolozziaround the same time, which refer back to a pre-WarSurrealist aesthetic, particularly that of Kurt Schwitters or ofMax Ernst, the Bunk collages form a different category, usingup-to-date colour magazine and advertising imagery, andpresenting this material in a direct, non-pictorial format.However, many of the works in the series are characterisedby the crudeness with which the source material has been cutand pasted down, incorporating yellowing strips of Sellotapeand affixed to sheets of card that appear recycled fromprevious collages (Figs.23 and 24). This makeshift qualityraises the question of whether the collages were intended asworks of art for display or whether they were private work-ing material, along the lines of those collages found inthe numerous scrapbooks kept by Paolozzi during the sameperiod. Several of the series are not really collages, but singletearsheets pasted down (Figs.25 and 26). The various loca-tions in which the Bunk collages can be found further enhancethe ambiguity of their material status. Where some are kept asworks of art in a museum store (Tate, London), others areheld in Prints and Drawings collections (Victoria and AlbertMuseum, London; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art,Edinburgh) and still others are stored as archival material (Artand Design Archive, Victoria and Albert Museum). Asidefrom several works held in private collections, the location ofabout fifteen of the collages remains so far unidentified (itmust be assumed) within Paolozzis personal archive.1 It is atleast in part due to this fugitive status that a certain amount ofmyth has gathered around the Bunk series, not least concern-ing their prophetic stature. New research, presented in thisarticle, examines the construction of this myth, particularlyin the light of Paolozzis retrospective at the Tate Gallery in1971, and the print series that was made from the collagesshortly thereafter. It is through this print series that the Bunkcollages are now commonly known, and most often displayedand illustrated. In addition, some of the source materialused in the collages is examined, revealing a broader field of</p><p>reference than the American magazines that became so attrac-tive to Pop artists around the mid-1950s.</p><p>Paolozzis interest in collaging popular material stretchedback to his childhood in Scotland, and has been well sum-marised by Robin Spencer.2 The preservation of a childhoodhabit into his mid- to late twenties a number of the pagesof the surviving scrapbooks contain drawings that may beclassified as juvenilia and as a student at the Slade School ofFine Art when it was evacuated to Oxford during the War</p><p>The author wishes to thank for their help in the preparation of this article DanielHerrmann, James Hyman, Richard Lannoy, Raymond Mason, James Mayor,Richard Morphet, Jennifer Ramkalawon, Jeffery Sherwin, Toby Treves, WilliamTurnbull, Aurlie Verdier and Frank Whitford. Particular thanks to Robin Spencerfor his help and encouragement, and to Flowers Gallery, London.1 Following Paolozzis death in 2005, the contents of his studio in Dovehouse Street,Chelsea, including his archives, were placed in storage and remain to be catalogued.2 See R. Spencer: Introduction, in idem, ed.: Eduardo Paolozzi. Writings and Inter-views, Oxford 2000, pp.143, esp. pp.810.</p><p>3 An exhibition two years after Paolozzis death of hitherto unpublished erotic col-lages is some indication of the only gradually emerging knowledge of these privateworks; see exh. cat. Eduardo Paolozzi: For Adults Only. A pornucopia of previouslyunknown erotic drawings/collages, London (Mayor Gallery) 2007.4 Paolozzis dating of his collages is not always accurate, particularly in the case ofthe Bunk collages; see more on this question below.5 Identification from R. Spencer: Eduardo Paolozzi: Recurring Themes, New York1984.6 It is collaged into S.P. Munsing, ed.: exh. cat. Kunstschaffen in Deutschland, held</p><p>238 april 2008 cl the burlington magazine</p><p>The Bunk collages of Eduardo Paolozziby JOHN-PAUL STONARD</p><p>22. Evadne in green dimension, by Eduardo Paolozzi. 1952. Collage, 33.1 by 25.4 cm.(Victoria and Albert Museum, London).</p></li><li><p>24. You cant beat thereal thing, by EduardoPaolozzi. 1951.Collage, 35.7 by 24cm. (Victoria andAlbert Museum,London).</p><p>23. A new brandof brilliance, by</p><p>Eduardo Paolozzi.1972. Lithograph,</p><p>29 by 41 cm.(After 1947</p><p>collage, where-abouts unknown).</p><p>(194445) and afterwards in London (194547), may havebeen one reason for Paolozzis sense of his collages as privateworking material.3 The collision of his scrapbook collageaesthetic and his exposure to Surrealism, in part through theagency of Nigel Henderson, whose mother, Wyn Henderson,ran the Guggenheim Jeune Gallery, London, resulted in suchcollages as Butterfly, dated by Paolozzi 1946 (Fig.27).4 Thiswork comprises a page cut from a book (in this case AlbertTofts Modelling and Sculpture, first published in 1911),5 whichhas been disrupted with the collaged addition of a picture of acombustion engine in a manner reminiscent of Max Ernst.One of Paolozzis most impressive and coherent scrapbooks,the Psychological Atlas, dated 1949, carries the subtitle HistoireNaturelle, referring directly to Ernsts print series of 1925,and comprises a series of ethnographically oriented imagesthat recall earlier Surrealist collage.6</p><p>What we know of Paolozzis subsequent stay in Parisfor two years from June 1947 is, largely by tradition, a storyrecounting the vagaries of affinity and influence. He was incontact with Giacometti and Dubuffet, and was also onfamiliar terms with both Tristan Tzara and Mary Reynolds,whose Duchamp collection he saw (in particular a largecollage of magazine images that Duchamp had apparentlymade on a wall of Reynoldss apartment which, unusually forDuchamp, has not been listed as part of the artists uvre).7 Heread Raymond Roussel and was influenced by Roussels</p><p>method of writing with found phrases, as described in hisbook Comment jai crit certains de mes livres (1935). The degreeto which he benefited from contact with those such as Tzararemains unclear. Nigel Hendersons letters to his wife, Judith,written during a stay in Paris in 1948, reveal Paolozzis friend-ships with artists to be a series of more or less surly conquests.8Henderson also describes both Paolozzis love of Paris andviolent reaction against anything English.9 He recalls thematerial deprivations of the time, describing how he managedto procure drawing paper for Paolozzi and suggesting toJudith that it was better to bring art materials from England.Although there are no records of the details of what he saw,there is little doubt that the principal influence on Paolozzi atthis time was what he later termed the Surrealist investigationI engaged myself in. . ..10 Frank Whitford has recorded theimportance of Duchamp and of an exhibition of works byMax Ernst at Raymond Duncans gallery in Paris.11 But therewas a clear distinction between the private results of theseSurrealist investigations and the official work that Paolozziwas making at that moment. His status was emphatically thatof a sculptor (at least this is how Brancusi introduced himto Braque),12 and those works on paper that he did producewere distinct in appearance from the Bunk collages (Fig.28).They have been described as having nothing whatever todo with Surrealism and hark back to decorative Cubism andto the papiers dcoups of Matisse.13</p><p>at the Central Collecting Point, Munich, from 9th June to 19th July 1949.The scrapbook is held in London, Krazy Kat Arkive (designated by Paolozzi tohold his collection of working material), Victoria and Albert Museum,AAD/1985/3/6/7.7 See, for example, U. Schneede: Eduardo Paolozzi, Cologne 1970.8 A great moment of my stay so far was a visit with Ed. to Fernand Leger [sic ] athis studio. This is the sort of initiative of Es that I admire without reservation. Wesimply barged in he led I followed. Leger was most cordial &amp; talked readily.Nigel Henderson to Judith Henderson, 28th August 1947; London, Tate Gallery</p><p>Archives (hereafter cited as TGA) 9211/1/1/9.9 Ibid.10 Interview with Eduardo Paolozzi by Richard Hamilton, Arts Yearbook 8 (1965),reprinted in Spencer, op. cit. (note 2), pp.138141, esp. p.139.11 F. Whitford: Eduardo Paolozzi, in idem, ed.: exh. cat. Eduardo Paolozzi, London(Tate Gallery) 1971, pp.629, esp. p.10. Whitfords text is based on a series of con-versations with Paolozzi from January to June 1971.12 Nigel Henderson to Judith Henderson, 3rd September 1947, TGA, 9211/1/1/10.13 Whitford, op. cit. (note 11), p.10.</p><p>the burlington magazine cl april 2008 239</p><p>T H E B U N K C O L L A G E S O F E D U A R D O P A O L O Z Z I</p></li><li><p>It is often written that Paolozzi made collages from Ameri-can magazines that he was given by ex-GIs stationed in Paris.14Although it is plausible Paolozzi and his English compatri-ots were very poor in comparison with American visitors itseems unlikely that this was a regular arrangement. Paolozzirecalls that the ex-GI and painter Charlie Marks gave him anumber of copies of the New York-based journal View, fromwhich he reaped images to make collages.15 However, it isnot apparent that any image from View was used in a collagemade at this time or later, and certainly none was used in theBunk series. It is more likely thatViewwould have been passedto him by Mary Reynolds who was the Paris representativeof the magazine. In fact, the range of publications usedfor the collages individual cases are detailed below suggestsa much broader pool of source material than Americanmagazines. Indeed, the majority of the collages were made inLondon after his return in 1949, where such magazineswere readily available and enthusiastically collected by othersassociated with the Independent Group.16</p><p>Even less is known about the first public presentation of theBunk collages at the inaugural meeting of the Young Group,the precursor of the Independent Group, at the Institute ofContemporary Arts in April 1952. This had been instigated byRichard Lannoy and Dorothy Morland, with the help of Toni</p><p>del Renzio, to cater for the more avant-garde and intellectualmembers of the Institute. Paolozzi projected collaged imagesand details from these images using an epidiascope for a fairlylarge and select audience who had turned up for the inauguralmeeting. Although there are no contemporary records, inparticular of the lecture being titled Bunk, a number ofpublished eyewitness accounts evoke the poignant atmosphereof the evening: I remember the prints steaming and peeling,and the heavy sighs of Eduardo, and the fairly sarcastic attacksof Reyner Banham, Nigel Henderson told Dorothy Morlandduring an interview about the ICA.17 In contrast to the intel-lectual approach of Banham and others, including JohnMcHale and Richard Hamilton, Paolozzis approach was forHenderson refreshingly instinctive: What I thought uniquelyvaluable in Eduardos contribution (though he was no meanarticulator, but used, I thought, to get a bit muddled in histerms) was sheer drive and virility, the gut reaction, which wasmissing in the English scene. This was the first presentationof such material in an intellectual context, and was met withdisbelief and some hilarity, as Paolozzi later recorded although this may have been due solely to Banham, whosechuckles became open laughing, to the annoyance of manyattendees.18 According to Paolozzi, the Bunk images wereamong the material that was projected, and there is little</p><p>14 For instance R. Miles: exh. cat. The Complete Prints of Eduardo Paolozzi. Prints,drawings, collages 194477, London (Victoria and Albert Museum) 1977, p.8.15 D. Robbins, ed.: The Independent Group: Postwar Britain and the Aesthetics of Plenty,Cambridge, MA, and London 1990, p.192.16 See J.P. Stonard: Pop in the Age of Boom: Richard Hamiltons Just what is itthat makes todays homes so different, so appealing?, THE BURLINGTON MAGAZINE149 (2007), pp.60720.17 Transcript of Dorothy Morlands interview with Nigel Henderson, 17th August1976, TGA, 955/1/14/6; see also Robbins, op. cit. (note 15), pp.21 and 94.18 E. Paolozzi: Eduardo Paolozzi, Retrospective Statement, in Robbins, op. cit.(note 15), pp.19293. Information on Reyner Banhams dismissive reaction from</p><p>Richard Lannoy; conversation with the present writer.19 Unsigned catalogue entry, The Tate Gallery 197072 (biannual report), London 1972,p.165.20 It has been suggested that the exhibition Parallel of Life and Art, organised byPaolozzi, Nigel Henderson and Alison and Peter Smithson at the Institute ofContemporary Arts, London, in late 1953, was a response to Paolozzis epidiascopelecture. But the material shown was of an entirely different order scientific andanthropological, rather than popular advertising.21 M. Middleton: Eduardo Paolozzi, London 1963, unpaginated.22 E. Paolozzi: The Metallization of a Dream, with a commentary by L. Alloway,London 1963.</p><p>240 april 2008 cl the burlington magazine</p><p>T H E B U N K C O L L A G E S O F E D U A R D O P A O L O Z Z I</p><p>25. Its daring its audacious, by Eduardo Paolozzi.1949. Collage, 32.5 by 24.5 cm. (Krazy Kat Arkive,Victoria and Albert Museum, London).</p><p>26. Fantastic weapons contrived, by Eduardo Paolozzi.1972. Lithograph, 26 by 35 cm. (After 1952 collage,whereabouts unknown).</p><p>27. Butterfly, by Eduardo Paolozzi. 1946. Collage.(Whereabouts unknown).</p></li><li><p>reason to assume that the series as it is now known wasprojected as a coherent whole at the 1952 lecture.19 At leasttwo of the collages (see Appendix, nos.2 and 38) had notyet been made, as the source material indicates. It is moreplausible that Paolozzi took a selection of his collages andscrapbooks, choosing some of the more striking images, andthat some of these later became enshrined in the Bunk series.</p><p>What can be stated with some certainty is that Paolozzispresentation, although controversial, had little immediateeffect.20 Virtually all accounts of Paolozzis work publishedbefore 1971 omit any reference to the Bunk collages. MichaelMiddletons short monograph of 1962 identifies the import-ance of the collage technique, and of Paolozzis meetings withTzara, Giacometti and Brancusi in Paris, and his exposure toMary Reynoldss Surrealist collection as well as his readingof Roussel but these experiences are seen as informinghis sculpture.21 Middleton writes that Paolozzis collage con-ception culminated in the film History of Nothing completedthe same year. Those collages reproduced in The Metallizationof a Dream (1963), an examination of Paolozzis workingmaterial with a commentary by...</p></li></ul>