Last video filmed at his Serpentine Gallery exhibition Hamilton Died on 13 September 2011
Richard Hamilton is often referred to as the Godfather of Pop Art. He recently held a successful retrospective exhibition at the Serpentine gallery. It was devoted to his political works which were considered controversial and thought provoking till the end. Richard Hamilton. Hamilton embraced many different mediums since the 1950s, including painting, printmaking, installation and industrial design. The exhibition will reassess the nature of Hamilton’s pioneering contribution, taking as a starting point the artist’s political paintings.His work evolved throughout his long and influential career, particularly in his approach to processes and techniques. The exhibition will explore in depth the use of multiples in his work and the varied ways the artist has used photographic material to investigate representation in contemporary society. This was the great British artist’s (b. 1922) first exhibition in a UK public gallery since 1992 The exhibition focused on Hamilton’s political and protest works. The installations, prints and paintings in the exhibition take global politics, riots, terrorist acts and war as their subject matter, examined how these conflicts are now largely mediated by the media, often via television or the internet
Richard Hamilton was born in London on 24 February 1922. Already as a teenager he attended evening art classes before he studied painting at the Royal Academy School from 1938 to 1940. He earned his living with jobs in the advertisement industry. Between 1941 and 1945 he worked as an industrial designer. In 1946 he resumed his studies at the Royal Academy School, but he was expelled in July because he defied his teachers’ instructions. He continued his studies at the Slade School of Art in London between 1948 and 1951, where he mainly attended to the medium of etching. His dealing with James Joyce’s novel ‚Ulysses’, which he illustrated for the first time in 1948, formed Hamilton’s understanding of images. In 1952 Richard Hamilton founded together with Eduardo Paolozzi, Lawrence Alloway and several architects the Independent Group at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, which became decisive for the development of English Pop Art. At that time he taught at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London as well as at the Royal College of Art from 1957 to 1961. In 1956 his most famous work ‚Just what it is that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?’ came into existence, which was intended as a poster for the legendary exhibition ‚This is tomorrow’. The collage, which critically dealt with mass media and the consumer society, is regarded as the beginning of English Pop Art. After a trip to New York in 1963 he began to combine photographic and painting elements in his works, followed by an intensive discussion of digital media and its effects on image perception and visual arts. In 1992 the Tate Gallery in London showed a retrospective, in 2003 the Museum Ludwig exhibited in co-operation with the artist a work show with the title ‚Introspective’. In 1993 Richard Hamilton represented Great Britain at the Biennale in Venice.
Photo/video © Paul Carter Robinson ArtLyst 2010