BUNK is the title given to a series of collages Paolozzi produced in Paris and London from c.1947 to 1952. The word BUNK was derived from a printed detail in one of the collages ‘Evadne in Green Dimension’, and was also the title of Paolozzi’s now seminal lecture to members of the Independent Group at the ICA in April 1952. The main feature of the lecture was a fast paced series of projections through an epidiascope of not only the so-called BUNK collages but also whole pages from magazines and other ephemera. Whitford wrote in the foreword to the 1972 BUNK portfolio ‘already in 1952 it was all there: science fiction, sex, technology, the movies, mass advertising, comics, packaging. A source-book of images prepared for future historians and sociologists who may want to tell our story in pictorial symbols. The ephemeral had been raised to the level of art; the underrated, undervalued and misunderstood had been proposed as the key to an understanding of contemporary culture.’

The BUNK presentation was a key moment in the development of British Art, especially as a formative influence on the emergence of what we now know as Pop art. On delving back into his archive when selecting work for his 1971 Tate retrospective Paolozzi realised how pioneering his BUNK collages were and the decision to create a portfolio of facsimiles of a group of 46 of these collages was no doubt intended to reassert he position he felt he deserved as the father of pop art for a new generation.

Paolozzi took 46 of his collages to Chris Betambeau at Advanced Graphics who agreed to produce a set of exact facsimiles in an edition of 150. The original elements of the collages were reprinted using lithography and or screenprinting, several were then hand-torn, creased and glued onto backing sheets or had collage elements pasted on top to produce an almost identical appearance to the originals. Thus in this print series Paolozzi had added yet another dimension to his exploration of originality and mass production, ‘a curious type of pun’. After their publication the V & A organised a touring exhibition of these prints in 1973 entitled ‘Bunk. A box-file of images in print’.

These 1972 BUNK prints are now in the permanent collections of the Tate Gallery, V & A, Art Institute Chicago, Art Gallery of New South Wales, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra among others. Prices range from £75 to £650 and we have just one of each.