“making is nothing without looking.”
Although Paolozzi was very much a maker – he collected vast amounts of objects for inspiration (see his studio in Edinburgh Gallery of Modern Art Two) – he actually switched his art course because he felt the need to make sculptures, to work with his hands. He made huge amounts of pasted-in scrapbooks and casts reused multiple times and ways. But he was also a great advocate of looking and studying other people’s work, in art museums.
When he taught ceramics at the Royal College of Art in the 1980s, he wrote this report:
‘Finding the courage to be truly creative, finding the courage to be truly disciplined, realising that endless hours of just “making” leads inevitably to some form of mediocrity, finding the discipline to go to the Tate and enjoy Blake or stare at cubism, learning that an hour at the National Gallery can be more influential than a trip to the Crafts Council — that is what we must instil.’
(from wonderfully titled article in the Spectator: “Paolozzi was not a slim man, but you have to run to keep up with him”)
Further reading (see more recent blog post review on 2018/9 exhibition “I want to be a machine” – Eduardo Paolozzi and Andy Warhol.
Edinburgh Modern Art Gallery’s own blog post on this exhibition is here.
I later attended a book signing on his work in Edinburgh, together with Poetry/music at his stained glass windows in Edinburgh Cathedral.)