Paolozzi’s assiduous collecting of images and objects from very diverse sources and their use as components in collages was a central theme of his artistic practice. In the mid-Sixties this approach was very much of the time. In music, for example, the same approach was evident in the work of The Beatles. In his magnificent book, Revolution in the Head, Ian Macdonald wrote:
The Beatles liked to surround themselves with a continuous low-level media babble of loosely scattered newspapers and magazines and permanently murmuring radios and tvs. Apart from the fact that it amused them to live like this – relishing the coincidences and clashes of high and low style that it entailed – they valued simultaneity for its random cross-references which suggested ideas that might otherwise not have occurred to them.
What really matters of course is not the process of creativity but its outputs. The superb quality of such as Day in the Life or The Silken World is enduring.
The juxtaposition of the head of Michelangelo’s David – one of the very best known icons of high art – with a picture to the left of Mickey Mouse and the three curiously clumsily rendered figures above, is an illogical, dissonant concept, yet brings about a visually harmonious image. The surrounding patterns and their saturated colours complement the figurative elements, creating a level of eye-candy indulgence appropriate for the cultural world’s sculpted superstar.