Minimal Snail on a Primary Structure
© The Paolozzi Foundation, Licensed by DACS 2006

Reference URL

Minimal Snail on a Primary Structure 1971
  • Scottish Art
This sculpture was one of a series of spoofs on modern art made by Paolozzi in 1971 for his retrospective exhibition at the Tate Gallery in London. The red sculpture was based on a work by the American minimalist artist Donald Judd. By adding a child’s toy snail to the top of the structure, Paolozzi humorously removes the seriousness and gravity of minimalist sculpture, true to the tradition of surrealism. The combination of ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture - the artistic and the everyday, is seen throughout his oeuvre.

Glossary Open


An art movement of the 1960s onwards, primarily in sculpture. It was in part a reaction against the flamboyance of Pop Art and Abstract Expressionism. It is characterised by a lack of expressiveness and the use of simple forms, often in repetition.


French term which is used to refer to an artist's total body of work.


A literary and artistic movement founded by the poet André Breton in 1924. Many of the associated artists, such as Max Ernst and Jean Arp, had previously been involved with Dadaism. The movement sought to challenge conventions through the exploration of the subconscious mind, invoking the power of dreams and elements of chance. Cultural hierarchies were challenged by the combination of diverse elements in collages and sculptural assemblages. The movement is also notable for the collaborations between artists and writers evident in the Surrealists' many publications.

Minimalism, Oeuvre, Surrealism


  • Acc. No. GMA.A.40.1/2537
  • Medium Wood, metal and paint
  • Size 15.50 x 12.70 x 29.00 cm (snail only)
  • Credit Presented by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi