Lisa Maddigan Newby

University of East Anglia

Project Title: Eduardo Paolozzi, assemblage and distinctions between ethnographic objects and modern art in London (1947-87)

My research examines the relevance of assemblage for the ways artists engaged with ethnographic collections in postwar Britain and questions the usefulness of assemblage as a model for cultural analysis in art history. Despite crucial attention to the significance of material processes, the persistence of generalised references to the ‘non-western object’ in this field raises questions about the conditions in which artists distinguished ethnographic objects from their own work and how this shifted in the postwar period. My study begins with the contexts and networks that informed distinctions between ethnographic objects and modern art in this period in an attempt to historicise the ‘reified generalities’ that persist in this field, an approach advocated by contemporary uses of assemblage theory in anthropology and museum studies. I focus on a series of exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London from 1948-87 and an expanded critical analysis of Eduardo Paolozzi’s project Lost Magic Kingdoms (1985-7) to consider how the usefulness of assemblage or ‘ethnographic collage’ can be more rigorously explored.

Supervised by Dr Simon Dell and Prof. John Mack.

About me

I have worked as a museum curator and as a project manager for artist led galleries and studios, with a focus on interdisciplinary and site specific projects. I have a BA in Art History from the University of Sussex and an MSc in Material Anthropology and Museum Ethnography from the University of Oxford.

Research Interests

Eduardo Paolozzi, assemblage, Modern British sculpture, museum ethnography, dada & surrealism, contemporary art, artists archives, and artists relationships with institutions.