Thursday, 18 September 2014

Moonstrips Empire News - introduction

The quality of Bob Dylan’s creativity and his productivity were outstanding in the mid-Sixties.  The three LPs, Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde, ’65-’66, constitute his very best work.  Compare Eduardo Paolozzi and his printmaking, ’64-’67:  As Is When, Moonstrips Empire News and Universal Electronic Vacuum – masterworks all, embodying quality and quantity. 

Moonstrips is a portfolio of 98 screenprints- 8 of which are signed/numbered – presented in a Perspex box.  The prints are 380mm x 254mm.  Additional sheets included in the box are a title page, colophon and introduction by Christopher Finch.  Printing was by Kelpra Studio and the box was made by Herault Studios.  The Portfolio was published in 1967 in an edition of 500 by Editions Alecto. 
 
In As Is When Paolozzi invited the viewer to make both visual and linguistic connections, based on their own unique experience and knowledge, between many disparate component images and text.  Here Paolozzi was developing the ideas of Marcel Duchamp, an early pioneer of shifting the balance of activity from the artist towards the viewer.  Duchamp classified most art as being intended only to please the eye (‘retinal art’); his mission was to ‘put art back in the service of the mind’.  In Moonstrips we can enjoy this latter objective being achieved whilst being fully indulged retinally at the same time. 

In Duchamp’s Green Box - 1934 – notes about his Large Glass and other related experimental works are presented in a box, unbound – leaving it to the viewer to determine the order of their consideration:
 
 

 

Moonstrips follows the same principle, constituting what Paolozzi thought of as a ‘terrestrial image bank’.
 
 
 
 

Regarding language and its relationship to thinking, Paolozzi’s writing activity developed in summary as follows: 

In notes from a lecture at the ICA, 1958, he used words as units in a verbal collage 

Metafisikal Translations (1962) – words/phrases were strung together to create a meaning larger than the component parts.  Spellings were played with and typefaces varied in order to enhance ambiguities 

Wild Track for Ludwig- a text included in As Is When –is characterised by the use of found fragments of writing and its composition/editing by a semi-spontaneous method 

Kex (1966) collage novel.  In this Paolozzi ceded control of the final output by delegating editing and layout to Richard Hamilton 

Mnemonic Weltschmerz with probability transformations – the text in Universal Electronic Vacuum – was rendered with no sections/paragraphs 

Moonstrips – words were used as units in themselves, often as a self-sufficient idea-image.  Moonstrips was much more experimental with typography and layout.  Material was derived from a vast number of sources 

However, in this blog I want to concentrate on the visual image sheets - there are no less than 55 of them to enjoy!

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