Introspective
Exhibition

Introspective

Richard Hamilton "Lobby", 1984

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

Itinerances

11 JULY – 09 NOV. 2003 Museum Ludwig, Cologne 
07 MAR. – 01 JUNE 2003 Museum galleries

see more show less
dates
7 March 2003 – 1 June 2003
title
Introspective
dates
7 March 2003 – 1 June 2003
title
Introspective
artist
Richard Hamilton
London
1922
Richard Hamilton began his training at Saint Martin’s School of Art and the Royal Academy Schools. Between 1941 and 1946 – too young for service in the Second World War – he worked as a draftsman. Later he studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London. In the early fifties, while working as a model maker, and through his friendship with the artist and photographer Nigel Henderson, he exhibited at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London, inaugurating a series of exhibitions that totally rethought the exhibition format. Also, during these years he was a member of the Independent Group, a collective formed in 1950 at the ICA by a group of architects, writers and artists. Their discussions contributed greatly to the development of British Pop Art. Hamilton was one of the first to take up art critic Lawrence Alloway’s theory on the continuity between Pop and fine arts. Hamilton interpreted this as meaning that in art there is no hierarchy of values: everything has equal value. His ideas were crucial to the consolidation of Pop art in Europe. Shown at the Whitechapel Gallery exhibition in London in 1956, it was the collage titled Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing? that proved decisive in this regard. He was the first to use the word ‘pop’, which appears on a lollipop in this collage. A great champion of Marcel Duchamp, Hamilton designed a typeset version of La boîte verte (La mariée mise à nu par ses célibataires, même) [The Great Glass (The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even)]. In the summer of 1963, Richard Hamilton went to Cadaqués, in the north of the Costa Brava, Spain, to visit his friend Duchamp. Thereafter, he began to make extended stays in the town, inviting other artists with whom he collaborated, including Dieter Roth and Marcel Broodthaers. Hamilton was one of the most influential British artists of the twentieth century, and his production covers various artistic techniques such as painting, drawing, printmaking, photography and design. Interested in bringing technology into art, in the eighties he began creating computer-based works. Both ironic and playful, his is a critical reflection on consumer society and contemporary media imagery. Among his first exhibitions are Growth and Form (1950) at the ICA, London; Man, Machine and Motion (1955) at the Hatton Gallery, Newcastle, and the ICA, London; This is Tomorrow (1956) at the Whitechapel Gallery, London; and an Exhibit (1957) at the Hatton Gallery and the ICA. Retrospectives of Hamilton’s work include: the Tate Gallery, London (1970 and 1992); the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (1973); MACBA, Barcelona, and the Ludwig Museum, Cologne (2003); and Tate Modern, London, and the Museo Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (2014). Among other international exhibitions, he participated in Documenta, Kassel (1968 and 1997), the biennales of São Paulo (1989), Venice (1993) and Shanghai (2006). The Independent Group independentgroup.org [consulted: 14 January 2015]. Institute of Contemporary Arts, ICA www.ica.art [consulted: 14 January 2015]. In 2003 Richard Hamilton (London, England, 1922) wrote the following short autobiography. ‘Enjoyed a long academic art training that was interrupted by the war, when he became an engineering draughtsman for the duration. Taught in art schools for fourteen years while trying to re-educate himself in the practice of painting. A devotion to the work and spirit of Marcel Duchamp led to his recapitulating, between 1957 and 1966, Duchamp’s Green Box and Large GlassLa Mariée mise a nu par ses cèlibataires, même. Achieved some success as a professional artist subsequent to an exhibition at the Tate Gallery, London, in 1970’.1
IHamilton, Richard, Dieter Roth – Richard Hamilton, Collaborations, Relations – Confrontations. Edition Hansjorg Mayer and Serralves Foundation, 2003color=”#999999″>
read more
Introspective
1 artists