Richard Hamilton (London, 1922–2011) has gone down in history as one of the founders of Pop Art. His collage Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing (1956) – featured on the promotional poster and catalogue for the exhibition This Is Tomorrow at London’s Whitechapel Art Gallery – is considered to be a milestone in the birth of this movement, because it carries its iconographical essences: the consumer society, popular culture and everyday life unabashedly penetrate the artistic universe.
But Richard Hamilton’s career goes much further, and the exhibition organised at MACBA in collaboration with the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, set out to demonstrate that this is so. It assembled a selection of 180 works produced between 1938 and 2002 – drawings, paintings, collages, objects and installations – arranged according to generic categories: portraits, interiors, landscapes, floral motifs and historical paintings. The idea was to take into account Hamilton’s constant process of reinterpretation throughout his career of the genres, techniques and history of painting.
Hamilton’s work dramatises the polarities that exist between figuration and abstraction; between art, design, and advertising; between high and low culture; between aesthetic innovation and political commitment.
Although Richard Hamilton (London, 1922) is best known as the father of Pop Art, his work within this movement is just one small stage in an artistic career spanning over fifty years and in which he has worked in the most varied fields, styles and techniques, from engraving to painting, drawing and installations, objects and industrial design, and during which he has explored the boundaries between art and advertising, design and mass production.
This exhibition, organised in collaboration with the Ludwig Museum of Cologne, features drawings, paintings, objects and recreations of large installations, such as Fun House, 1956; and Lobby, 1985-87. The exhibition is structured into classical categories, just as Hamilton himself classifies his work: still lifes, portraits, interiors, exteriors, nature, religious works, etc., and includes key pieces from 1938 to 2002, such as the series Solomon R. Guggenheim, 1965-66, or Lux 50-Functioning Prototype, 1979, the combination of an amplifier designed by Hamilton himself with an object-painting.
Curator: Vicent Todolí
Co-Production: Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona - Ludwig Museum de Colonia
11 JULY - 09 NOV. 2003 Museum Ludwig, Cologne
07 MAR. - 01 JUNE 2003 Museum galleries