This exhibition, a major collaboration between Ikon and Turner Contemporary, Margate is the first museum show for British artist Hamish Fulton since his retrospective at Tate Britain in 2002. Fulton describes himself as a ‘walking artist’, with his work joining the two separate disciplines of walking and art.
In 1973, having walked over 1000 miles in 47 days from Duncansby Head to Land’s End, Fulton decided to ‘only make art resulting from the experience of individual walks.’ Since then the act of walking has remained central to his artistic practice. He has said ‘If I do not walk, I cannot make a work of art’. Calls for political justice, for Tibet and previously on behalf of Australian Aborigines and North American Indians, also recur in Fulton’s work, corresponding to the individual and artistic freedom embodied within it.
For Ikon, Fulton makes an installation that consists entirely of wall pieces, each with a strong sense of place. They have ritualistic connotations, corresponding to walking activity and the meditative thought it can inspire, and touching on a wide range of non-art issues that preoccupy the artist. Specifcally, they make reference to the ongoing struggle for Tibetan independence, China as an ascendant superpower, globalised travel and communications and mountainous landscape. The latter comes into focus in light of the artist’s summiting of Mount Everest (or Chomolungma) on 19 May 2009. This exhibition will be the first opportunity in the UK for audiences to see Fulton’s work relating to his ‘short walk’ on Everest.
Publications are a vital part of Fulton’s practice. An illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition, priced £9.95. It includes extensive artist’s notes and an interview between Fulton and Erling Kagge, acclaimed Norwegian adventurer and the first person to have completed the ‘Three Poles Challenge’, having reached both the North and South Poles (1990, 1992/3), as well as summiting Mount Everest (1994). This inclusion reflects Fulton’s interest in emphasising people’s ability to survive environments, not the ability to produce landscape paintings. To coincide with his exhibition at Ikon, Fulton has also made a limited edition print.
Hamish Fulton’s exhibition is supported by The Henry Moore Foundation.