Posted: Friday, 20th April 2012
A "NEW wave" of British science fiction emerged in the sixties that embraced the most progressive forces in culture at the time. This included forms of visual art that looked to technology for methods, subject matter and metaphors.
A new exhibition at MMU Special Collections in the Sir Kenneth Green Library – Paolozzi at New Worlds Art & Science Fiction in the Sixties - explores this through the pages of the magazine New Worlds, the so-called bible of the "new wave".
Artists including Richard Hamilton and Andy Warhol were featured, meanwhile writers such as J.G. Ballard and Michael Moorcock incorporated art imagery into their stories.
By far the most influential artist was Eduardo Paolozzi (1924-2005) a sculptor, designer and print-maker, respected as the embodiment of a "new sensibility" in art.
Paolozzi was producing ground-breaking graphics that reflected an interest in text, while alluding to the emergence of new cybernetic technologies. The centrepiece of the exhibition is the edition, "Moonstrips Empire News" (1967). Its imagery of circuit boards, pixellated cartoon characters and its futuristic "interactive" concept, invokes the technologies of the dawning information age.
The exhibition includes items from Paolozzi's collection of toys that reflect the importance of science and technology in his art, and a display of rare scrapbooks by the artist.
The exhibition contains a special display of rare copies of New Worlds from the period 1967-69. Later editions of the title have been included to suggest possible areas of convergence between the "art" writing of Ballard and others and the "science fiction art" of Paolozzi.
The exhibition runs until June 2 and is curated by David Brittain, research fellow in Miriad and senior lecturer in photography. An expanded version of the exhibition will appear at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in 2013 and a publication is due from Savoy Books.
- The exhibition has been supported by MMU Special Collections, MIRIAD, and the Paolozzi Foundation. The organisers acknowledge the assistance of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, the Whitworth Art Gallery (University of Manchester), Michael Butterworth, John Davey, Robin Spencer and Toby Treves. Digital feature designed by Ben Lycett.