Andy Warhol and Eduardo Paolozzi - I Want to be a Machine at Scottish National Galleries Modern 2 from 17 November 2018 to 2 June 2019 brings together two of the most famous names in Modern Art with an exhibition that focuses not only on their most iconic images, but some not too often seen early works. Both these giants of art Pop Culture were so often attracted to the harsh industrial aspect of our modern society and the idea of being part of a larger machine. The influence of media visuals, modernity, our culture of disposability and what modern fame represents are explored in many areas, and although both artists are highly distinctive from one another, there are clear areas where they are drawing inspiration from similar sources. Both Andy Warhol and Eduardo Paolozzi of course are master exploiters of the “Screen print” and works on view in this exhibition represent some examples of this print form at its technical best.
Andy Warhol may arguably be the more famous name to start this review with, but I want to start with Eduardo Paolozzi (1924 – 2005) for the simple reason that here in Edinburgh we have such strong connections with the artist and are fortunate enough to have some of his larger sculptures on display throughout our city for everyone to enjoy at any time they want to. Eduardo Paolozzi was born in Leith, and is truly one of the “great sons of Leith” with his influence on 20th century art spreading far beyond Leith’s ports.
Eduardo Paolozzi is always a difficult artist to attribute any specifics to as there are so many different Paolozzis out there; which one is your favourite, the artist behind wonderful screen prints, the creator of sculptures belonging to some disturbing mechanised age, the man behind almost science fiction like large scale sculptures, or the man who loves to play with collage - shaping with the debris of a throw away culture new images to challenge our thoughts. Whichever is your “favourite Paolozzi” there will be something in this exhibition for you.
Andy Warhol (1928 - 1987) needs little introduction to anyone, and there is a wide range of his work here ranging from line drawn work from the 1950s to iconic screen prints and his fascination with photography and polaroid pictures. One of the most striking features of this exhibition is his iconic screen print of Marilyn Monroe in 10 different colourways on one wall. Also nice to get the opportunity to see Andy Warhol works from the 1950s that pre-date his more famous “Pop-Art” notoriety.
One area that I would have liked to see more of in this exhibition was Warhol’s involvement with the music industry – there are some iconic images there with albums for The Velvet Underground, The Rolling Stones, Debbie Harry, Prince to name but a few. Lou Reed’s iconic “Walk On The Wild Side” with its many references to people in and around Andy Warhol’s New York “The Factory” would make fitting background music here.
SNG Warhol Pailozzi Andy Warhol and Eduardo Paolozzi I Want to be a Machine
17 November 2018 – 2 June 2019
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern Two)
73 Belford Road, Edinburgh, EH4 3DS
0131 624 6200 nationalgalleries.org
Review by Tom King