This series of six prints is a small part of an extensive and generous gift of prints from Sir Eduardo Paolozzi to the University of Birmingham. The title of this collection of prints is taken from a book on atomic physics that Paolozzi came across in the United States in the late 1960s. He was then working in the Arts Faculty at Berkeley, California, and on the 'Art and Technology' program at the Los Angeles County Museum, where he amassed imagery from a multitude of sources. His pratice at that period was to cull pictures and texts from magazines as diverse as Scientific American, Fortune, Playboy, National Geographic and many technical magazines, and copy, amend and re-order the material to create vivid collages.
This is a development of Pop Art, the movement of which Paolozzi was one of the founding fathers in the early 1950s. Z.E.E.P. is perhaps more mature and technically efficient than the earlier stages of Pop Art which is characterised by its source material of advertising, cinema imagery, comics and so on.
The six screen prints in Z.E.E.P. were made at the height of the Cold War. Imagery of nuclear armageddon - battleships, submarines, rockets - is intermingled with symbols of the space race, of 'cheesecake' and of the movies - can we recognise Shirley Maclaine in one of the prints? The individual titles evoke an uneasy quality, being couched in the language of the horror film title, of militarism and the mail order catalogue. The whole set has a fast and furious pace, reminiscent of flickering electric advertising signs and of the speed that images then, as now, pass in front of our eyes.
Inscriptions / Translations: Each print is signed bottom right, in marker pen on the acrylic backing panel. 'E. Paolozzi 32/100'
Notes: A0887a - 'Agile Coin Gross Decision Logic'
A0887b - '6228 Plus: Cry on my Shoulder, No Sad Songs etc.'
A0887c - 'Hollywood Wax Museum'
A0887d - 'Human Fate and World Power'
A0887e - 'ZEEP: Will the Future Rulers of the Earth Come From the Ranks of Insects'
A0887f - 'Standard Pacific Time'