Miniature Paolozzi Elephant on display after restoration

A miniature elephant created by renowned sculptor Sir Eduardo Paolozzi to help a company increase sales of linoleum floors will be on display after the restoration.

This limited edition artwork was produced in the early 1970s by Paolozzi for Fife-based Nairn Floors to help promote its products.

It recently underwent a restoration that included reattaching the disconnected stem and it will be on display next month at the Kirkcaldy Gallery, near the factory that ordered the piece.

The elephant-shaped briefcase, 30cm high, removable in the back, is made to hold flyers and brochures at trade shows and galleries.

Elephants – strange and unusual to us – inspired PaolozziLily Barnes, OnFife

Lily Barnes, curator of linoleum at OnFife, which operates the Kirkcaldy Gallery, said: “Nairn needed a way to display promotional materials that was neat, eye-catching and classy enough to capture the imagination. image of architects, who the company hopes will then be more likely to use corporate floors in their designs.

“The elephants – strange and unusual to us – inspire Paolozzi.

“They introduced him to new techniques that he would later use in his work.”

Although the last 3,000 elephants were produced in 1972, only a handful of them were counted.

One is at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, another at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and two are held by the cultural charity OnFife.

The recently restored molded plastic sculpture – believed to be a prototype model – will be displayed alongside its companion at the Kirkcaldy Gallery during January and February.

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Elephants used to display promotional materials (OnFife/PA)

Nairn Floors was at a crossroads in 1970 when Paolozzi was approached, having survived the tumultuous 1960s as consumer tastes changed and linoleum sales dropped.

As the company diversified, it sought to strengthen its position by advertising its products to architects, coveted clients, who could generate more revenue than they could afford. The company can guarantee from individual customers their flooring.

Company executives, who were interested in marketing the company as modern, exciting and innovative, thought that an elephant would symbolize Nairn’s qualities of strength, intelligence, and endurance. .

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Paolozzi, considered one of the pioneers of Pop Art, was recommended for the commission by a design firm called Douglas Maxwell Limited, which was aware of the artist’s passion for the furniture. industrial objects.

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Sir Eduardo Paolozzi passed away in 2005 (PA)

He recently received an OBE and is well known in the art world, having held one-man shows at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Tate Gallery in London.

The Edinburgh-born artist, who died in 2005, said of the committee: “This subject is very interesting to me as a sculptor.

“I knew in advance about the various technical processes that the sculpture would go through… and this opened up a whole new world for me.”

To create the elephants, Paolozzi first created a maquette — or model — that stylists, molders and plastic engineers developed into the final design.

Each elephant comes with a booklet detailing the process, described as “very complex”.

Both elephant sculptures are also slated to appear in the Flooring the World exhibition, which opens at the Kirkcaldy Gallery next October and is part of a two-year project exploring the history of the industry. linoleum industry Fife.

It is funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Collection Fund, which is run by the Museums Association. Miniature Paolozzi Elephant on display after restoration

Fry Electronics Team

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