Looking at Paolozzi’s ‘Cyclops’ (for 10 days)

I’d been thinking of making a project about reflection on a piece of work as well as its creation.

Often I’d found myself skittering from making one thing then straight on the next one without perhaps paying enough attention to what had happened, what that meant, how that could be developed.

I wondered if I could pay attention and come back to, each day, a single piece of work. A kind of Slow Art thing. A rejection of the whizz-past-everything-cos-there-are-people-queued-up-behind-you experience that is often encountered in the ‘blockbuster’ exhibitions. Instead more like the ‘return to the breath’ instruction that meditation encourages.

I started by picking ‘sculpture’, as that is what I’m interested in, and the Tate galleries as they are close enough to visit easily and regularly. My intention was to select a piece of work and find a ‘route into it’ each day in a different way; it may be as simple as how I feel when looking at it, researching the person who made it, thinking about the context in which it was made, it’s physical appearance, any associations it conjures up for me, etc etc.

I chose Paolozzi’s Cyclops (1957) in Tate Britain’s 1950s gallery to start with. I’d spent the morning thinking about the Paolozzi mosaics I’d grown up with in Tottenham Court Road being removed as part of the Crossrail development. I knew him for his colourful collages, but not so much his sculptures. And so, 10 DAYS, 10 WAYS OF APPROACHING A PIECE OF WORK (or, 10 DAYS OF PAOLOZZI for short!) begins…

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