Eduardo Paolozzi and JG Ballard: Representing New British Modernities, c. 1966 - 1980

  • Carol Huston

Student thesis: Phd


The significance of the relationship between Scottish artist Sir Eduardo Paolozzi (1924-2005) and English novelist J.G. Ballard (1930-2009) has previously been overlooked in art historical and literary scholarship. This thesis fills this research gap through the analysis of how the pair's works overlapped thematically to represent a particular strain of British modernity. By looking at shared cultural circumstances after World War II, parallels will be drawn between the work of Paolozzi and Ballard in the late years of British modernism. Drawing upon the topics of science fiction, Surrealism, the neo-avant-garde and militaristic and crash aesthetics, this thesis explores the various themes which Paolozzi and Ballard encountered during the period of their friendship.Overall, this comparative analysis reveals that despite dissimilar upbringings, Paolozzi and Ballard's harrowing experiences of the Second World War culminated in a dual reaction against the stagnant flow of British modernism during the late postwar era. My thesis demonstrates this through their involvement with literary magazines as well as their mutually shared interests as expressed in their works of art and writings. By creating works which appropriated early twentieth century traditions, Paolozzi and Ballard rejected their immediate modernist inheritance and turned to the modernist past with renewed avant-garde intent. As exemplified in their works, the pair together represented the late postwar transition of British modernity during the dawn of what would come to be called 'postmodernism'.
Date of Award1 Aug 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorMark Crinson (Supervisor) & David Lomas (Supervisor)

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