b. 1928, UK; lives and works in London, Venice and Cortona, Italy
2001 Elected as a Royal Academician 1952-1955 Royal College of Art, London, ARCA First Class 1949-1952 St Martins School of Art, London
Upon leaving the Royal College of Art in 1955, Joe Tilson was awarded the prestigious Rome Prize, taking him to live in Italy for a year, a country from which he has drawn lifetime of inspiration. He and his wife Josyln, purchased an old farmhouse near Cortona and have since spent nearly six months of every year, making and exhibiting art there. Whilst a student at the Royal College of Art, Tilson met Peter Blake, Allen Jones, Patrick Caulfield, Derek Boshier, RB Kitaj and David Hockney, who together founded British Pop Art. However, by 1970, Tilson became increasingly disillusioned with the consumer society that Pop Art had done so much to highlight and increasingly frustrated with the lack of political action that the 1960s in Britain had promised. His move to the countryside, radically changed his subject matter, turning towards cultural history as a source of inspiration.
For Cure3 Tilson has replaced the Perspex cube with his own 20cm3 sculpture, resembling a square section of earth. It stands proud in isolation, displaying typical graphics and a wordplay conundrum, ideas that are often explored within the artist’s work. Is it HEART or EARTH that the art work is spelling out? This ambivalence is a poignant reminder of the very precious and precarious state of our planet.