Painting of the Week / Thomas Abbs

Painting of the week: 8

Mr PeanutSir Eduardo Paolozzi, Mr Peanut, 1970, Screenprint on paper, 69.80 x 48.50 cm, National Galleries of Scotland

Born in Leith, north Edinburgh, it’s impossible to pound the pavements of this city without becoming aware of Paolozzi’s work. The Dean and Modern Art Gallery in Edinburgh are full of his collages and sculptures, with the former including a replica of the artist’s studio. Arguably though, in London, Paolozzi’s work is even more prominent. Paolozzi’s Head of Invention sculpture resides on the South Bank in front of the Design MuseumNewton sits pondering outside the British Museum, and just next door at Euston station sits Picastor – dedicated to the German theatre director Erwin Picastor. Commuters and tourist are also treated to his work at the hustle and bustle of Tottenham Court Road tube station where his mosaics pattern the walls. Using fantasy and imagination, Paolozzi’s science-man works playfully look at how humans behave, cope and dream in a fragmented civilisation, full of distractions – making London’s commuting hotspots the perfect backdrop.

It should also be noted, for the purposes of fairness, that Paolozzi designed the front cover to Paul McCartney’s album, Red Rose Speedway (1973). However, we won’t hold that against him.

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