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

Sunday, 2 June 2013

G. Space Age Archaeology. Left: Fathers. Right. Sons - Sir Eduardo Paolozzi

Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, G. Space Age Archaeology. Left: Fathers. Right. Sons, 1971, etching on paper, 244 x 222 mm, Tate.

More from Paolozzi's 'Cloud Atomic Laboratory' series of prints, in which images from the early years of the Space Race are revisited post-Moon Landing.  As the title states, this is 'Space Age archaeology'.
   Thankfully, this reproduces a bit better online than the last, so we can see how the source material (photographs? illustrations?) has been uniformly smoothed to produce complimentary images that enter in a disturbing dialogue with each other.  The 'father' test pilots in the left image appear cheerfully engaged in unthreatening scientific endeavour, while the 'sons' on the right, with their toy guns and fallen soldiers, let the cat out of the bag.  Despite appearances of adventure for the sake of adventure, this is all to do with gaining military advantage.  They are the future their fathers are bringing about.  The smiling technician, meanwhile, is eerily echoed by the marionette in the playroom, not dissimilarly dressed.  Science is a puppet here.  The imagery isn't subtle, but not everything has to be.  It stings.  It works.
   (If you find some of these images too small, by the way, I recommend the zoom function on Chrome.  It really does let you get into the detail.  Yes, yes, I know Google are using the information to programme a sentient robot version of yourself who will one day replace you in the night, but that's a separate issue.)

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