To Eduardo, his early beginnings in Edinburgh - long before the term 'Scots-Italian' - became a badge of ethnic identity. Eduardo's own translation of these experiences is the sculpture 'The Manuscript of Monte Cassino' at the top of Leith Walk, Edinburgh. With its firmly planted foot and the open hand of hospitality, it is a symbol of the historic integration of one community being accepted by another. But its fragmentary state also hints at its identity as an oblique memorial to the tragic sinking of the Arandora Star, which fractured the community in Edinburgh in 1940 and resulted in many losses, including Rudolfo Paolozzi, the husband of Carmela and father to Eduardo and Yolanda.Today, most of us probably think of Eduardo as a great European, as at home in London as he was in Munich, Paris, or Edinburgh. Now that Scotland takes her place with confidence on the world's stage, we do not think it at all unusual if an artist who was born in the Highlands has an exhibition in China, or a Glasgow painter wins the Turner prize. But during Eduardo's career, and even after Richard Demarco brought artists like Joseph Beuys to Edinburgh, cultural identity was defined by a much narrower kind of nationalism. But, now that we are more accustomed to the internationalism in art Eduardo always represented, we should not forget the direct and indirect contribution he has always made to the cultural life of Scotland. It is not noticed, for instance, how often he exhibited new work in Scotland, either before or immediately after showing it in the major international exhibitions. Within a year of his debut representing Great Britain at the Venice Biennale in 1952, and while 'Parallel of Life and Art' (1953) the breakthrough exhibition about art and science was running at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), he sent seven of his recent bronzes to the Society of Scottish Artists exhibition in Edinburgh, care of his old teacher Norman Forrest. There were further exhibitions of recent work, including one at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (1966), which reprised sculpture and prints, centred on the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, first shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1964. And in 1984, he made use of the long run-up to the big exhibition of his work at the Royal Scottish Academy, to develop an entirely new phase of his sculpture, which served him for public and private work for the for the next 15 years.
I am undoubtedly the wrong person to advise about London galleries. As you know, I made the decision a number of years ago to work outside the gallery system. I find one loses contact with work, clients, prices, if a gallery handles sales. I also resent giving 50% to a dealer. Being camera-shy, and rather stranger-shy, I also tend to avoid exhibition openings as well.This expressed reticence is wholly characteristic and a true, and accurate reflection of his personality. It is one of the factors that made Eduardo first and foremost an 'artist's artist'. It also reflects his gregarious nature and the need to mix art and life, which the calculated distancing of the commercial world would have denied him. Eduardo's generosity was also prompted by the interest he took in the ritual of the gift as practised by so-called under-developed societies; in contrast with the economic profligacy and technological complexity of our own. Why, if so much could be achieved with so little, based on 'free' exchange, were Western capitalist societies so uncreative and hell-bent on self-destruction. These questions exercised him greatly. They lay behind the exhibition 'Lost Magic Kingdoms', which he created with Professor Malcolm McLeod in 1985; and provided a rationale for his own omnivorous collecting habits, which were central to his creative process. Above all, Eduardo's generosity and celebration of his 'gift', with the creative freedom it allowed him, was targeted at a greedy art world predicated overwhelmingly on the reductive and destructive assumption that the intrinsic value of art is directly related to its market value; an equation that all great artists, from Marcel Duchamp onwards, have done everything in their power to subvert and overturn.
Carlo Cardazzo – a new vision for art
A must-see exhibition at The Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Venice. Carlo Cardazzo, is now being honoured, marking the 100th anniversary of his birth. It is a name that should be known throughout the world to every student and teacher of modern art. Sadly, this is not the case.
Joseph Beuys: Actions, Vitrines, Environments
Joseph Beuys tested the international art world to breaking point throughout his career. Now, nearly 20 years after his death, he is questioning the capacity of the art world to do justice to his theories on art and his methods of making art, which have previously resisted the efforts of art gallery directors, curators and art conservators to preserve it from its inherent vulnerability.
Michael Andrews revisited
If there was ever a clearer purpose and definition of the respective rationale behind the division of Tate works into Tate Modern and Tate Britain, the present retrospective of the painter Michael Andrews is a reassuring touchstone
RSA 181st Annual Exhibition
The Royal Scottish Academy (RSA) in Edinburgh has got in before the Royal Academy in London with its summer show. The RSA 2007 exhibition powerfully develops the 'Highlands and Islands' theme in contemporary art and sits well within global aspirations and directions.
Eduardo Paolozzi: The Jet Age Compendium
It seems to be the close season for Paolozziana at the moment, notwithstanding the presence in Tate Modern of the Warhol-Koons brand of Pop Art. Paolozzi, of course, was genuinely credible as the founder/pioneer of British Pop Art, as distinguished from its American variant.