Staring at art from the Tate's collection and thinking about it

Monday, 13 May 2013

E. Quoined Chase - Gordon House

Gordon House, E. Quoined Chase, 1970, etching and aquatint on paper, 377 x 378 mm, Tate.















House (pop-cultural claim to fame: designed the back cover of Sgt. Pepper) fills a square elegantly with some op-art shimmer.  You get an illusion of depth if you look at it for long enough, so that's good.  Part of a wider series in which similar squares are filled in a range of groovy sixties ways.  Essentially art as interior design (as in the arrangement of enclosed space), which is appropriate considering his surname.  House, get it?  Oh, never mind.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

D. Top: Culture: Monkeys May be the Next Space Travellers on US Made Satellites. Bottom: X-15's Maiden Flight - Sir Eduado Paolozzi

Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, D. Top: Culture: Monkeys May be the Next Space Travellers on US Made Satellites. Bottom: X-15's Maiden Flight, 1971, etching on paper, 386 x 190 mm, Tate.














This etching based on space-age source material (which unfortunately doesn't reproduce online that well, so any qualities as a print it might possess are pretty much lost), marks a significant turning point.  When Paolozzi began collecting imagery such as this back in the 1940s, before anything had been sent into space at all, and it was all just a distant dream.  By the time he was producing print series based on it in the early '70s (this is from a collection called 'Cloud Atomic Laboratory'), a man had walked on the Moon.  The future that was dreamed of had become the past.  Indeed, it could be argued that the Moon Landing was the moment when, for the time being, we could get no more modern and, as anything after that could only be an anti-climax, such as was the case with the later Moon landings, then the West inevitably slipped into a state of post-modernity, becoming nostalgic for the sense of moving forward to a brighter, better tomorrow.  Old earnest optimism turned to kitsch.  This work is an early indication that people were feeling that.