Independent Group

bunk by eduardo paolozzi

The Independent Group (IG) met at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA, an artistic and cultural center on The Mall in London). The IG consisted of painters, sculptors, architects, writers, and critics who wanted to challenge prevailing modernist approaches to culture. They introduced mass culture into debates about high culture, re-evaluated modernism and created the ‘as found’ or ‘found object’ aesthetic. Currently the subject of renewed interest in our post disciplinary age, the IG was the topic of a two-day, international conference at the Tate Britain in 2007. The Independent Group is regarded as the precursor to the Pop Art movement in Britain and the United States.

The Independent Group had its first meeting early in 1952 which consisted of artist and sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi feeding a mass of colorful images from American magazines through an epidiascope (early image projector). These images, composed of advertising, comic strips and assorted graphics, were collected when Paolozzi was resident in Paris from 1947-49. Much of the material was assembled as scrapbook collages and formed the basis of his ‘BUNK!’ series of screenprints (1972) and the ‘Krazy Kat’ Archives now held at the V & A Museum. In fact, Paolozzi’s seminal 1947 collage ‘I was a Rich Man’s Plaything was the first such ‘found object’ material to contain the word ‘pop’ and is considered the initial standard bearer of ‘Pop Art.”

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