Hamish Fulton at Galerie Van Der Mieden

Galerie Van Der Mieden, Antwerp

March 20, 2012

16 March–5 May 2012

Pourbusstraat 15
B-2000 Antwerp, Belgium

Hamish Fulton characterises himself as a ‘walking artist’. Fulton’s time as a student at St Martin’s College of Art in London (1966–68) and his journeys in South Dakota and Montana in 1969, encouraged him to think that art could be ‘how you view life’, and not tied necessarily to the production of objects. He began to make short walks, and then to make photographic works about the experience of walking. At this time, and subsequently, his practice was influenced by an unusually broad set of interests including the subject of the environment and the culture of American Indians. In 1973, having walked 1,022 miles in 47 days from Duncansby Head (near John O’Groats) to Lands End, Fulton decided to ‘only make art resulting from the experience of individual walks.’ Since then the act of walking has remained central to Fulton’s practice. He has stated ‘If I do not walk, I cannot make a work of art’ and has summed up this way of thinking in the simple statement of intent: ‘no walk, no work.’ Although Fulton experiences the walk itself, the texts and photographs he presents in exhibitions and books allow us to engage with his experience. He says: “My art has to do with specific places and particular occurrences which are not present in the gallery, and the information I give is minimal. My hope is that a separate image will be formed in the observer’s mind, based on that which my work imparts.”

Fulton doesn’t seek to distort the landscape: he only seeks to walk across it. The visible part of his work relies on artefacts he creates after the hike: wall paintings, pictures, drawings or gouaches, that all testifies of his physical experience. Every image that he makes includes some geographic or chronologic indications. His observations have something in common with ‘explorers’ or ‘scientists’ stories, but the posture that he embraces since the beginning is the one of an assumed artist that makes him one of the pillars of conceptual art (with Robert Barry, Mel Bochner, On kawara, Jan Dibbets or Richard Long).

His largest exhibition to date, “Walking Journey”, was held in Tate Britain in 2002.