Nigel Henderson and Eduardo Paolozzi: Hammer Prints Limited 1954- 758. Jan - 3. Mar 13 / ended firstsite
In 1954 artists Nigel Henderson and Eduardo Paolozzi formed a creative partnership under the company name of Hammer Prints Ltd. Over the course of the next seven years the two artists established a commercial venture, collaboratively designing patterns and working with industry specialists to produce wall papers, fabrics, ceramic tiles, furniture and tableware using their designs. Based on original research, this exhibition will chart the history of Hammer Prints within the context of their broader artistic output and other collaborations such as the exhibitions, Parallel of Life and Art (Institute of Contemporary Arts, 1953) and This is Tomorrow (Whitechapel Art Gallery, 1956).
A comprehensive display of original Hammer Prints articles will be supplemented by hitherto unseen working material such as source imagery, sketches, screens, test sheets and other ephemera. Documentation of the designs in domestic interiors and Henderson's own photography of the artists at the studio will also feature in the exhibition. A key subject area is the artists' approach to adapting their individual fine art practices to an applied art collaboration; the drawings, photographs and collages that can be seen to have influenced the development of their designs and their self-described 'attack' on craft through silk-screen media.
Nine Hammer Prints patterns went into production, often printed in several colourways; these designs were manufactured as wallpaper by Cole & Son and textiles by Hull Traders. They included
Sgraffito - built up around several photo prints of an inked impression of an engraved block of plaster.
Hessian - a demonstration of a monotype principle; pieces of inked canvas arranged and rearranged.
Coalface - developed by working upon the lid of a tea chest...with red-hot wires to form a design which would evoke the world of geological stratifications and form a background to modern living.
Cowcumber - a photo-enlargement of a seventeenth century herbal wood-cut.
Newsprint - developed from a large number of photographs of hoardings, wall drawings taken during a visit to Paris.
Barkcloth - described as a primitive, semi-abstract, geometrical design.
Townscape - a complex attempt to bring together some of the many conflicting images of the urban scene using children's drawings and lettering amongst other materials.
This exhibition will explore the development of these designs, tracing interests and influences such as the impact of science and technology on the human condition and the experience of the modern urban environment, its structure and design. Strategies of defamiliarisation through magnification - such as the use of photo-enlargements - or the development of patterns that suggest abstract topographies or associations, so called naive or primitive art and the use of silk-screen media will be placed in the context of their broader application within the artists' work.
A new publication based on original research will accompany the exhibition.
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