Eduardo Paolozzi, Crash Head, 1970, Bronze on wood base, Pallant House Gallery, Wilson Gift through The Art Fund © Trustees of the Paolozzi Foundation
During the 1960s Paolozzi was seen as a leading British Pop artist. His sculptures of the decade display a much sleeker machine aesthetic and instead of relying on found objects the artist bought new machine parts from engineering supply shops and mail-order catalogues. He created machine idols such as 'Artificial Sun' using prefabricated geometric forms in aluminium that would be fabricated by technicians under the artist's supervision. This sculpture relates closely to his innovative 'As is When' screenprints based on the life and work of the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein who had developed a theory of language games in his writings. The prints were created from preparatory collages using a kit of weaving diagrams and engineering patterns, which made them particularly suitable for translation into woven tapestries, such as the example shown here.
In his print portfolios such as 'Moonstrips Empire News' and 'General Dynamic Fun' Paolozzi drew on a wide range of popular and technological cultural sources to create a free association between image and text. Paolozzi was interested in the way that technology is harnessed to satisfy popular taste and its psychological effect on society. The science fiction writings of his friend J.G. Ballard were also an important influence on the development of sculptures such as 'Crash Head' and his prints based on car safety test dummies. In the late 1960s Paolozzi grew increasingly disillusioned with the American dream, due to his opposition to the Vietnam War, and sought to distance himself from the Pop artist label.