This is Hamish Fulton's first one-person show in a UK public gallery since 2002. The exhibition brings together works from the early 1970s to the present, including a new film of a group walk in Margate commissioned by Turner Contemporary
in the lead up to the opening of the gallery.
Based in Kent, Hamish Fulton has made walking the basis of his practice for the past three decades, producing photography, text and sketches that evolve from the experience of solo and group walks in the landscape.
Hamish Fulton’s art focuses on an engagement with the environment and the self through the experience of walking. He describes himself as a ‘walking artist’ resisting the limitations of the terms ‘land artist’, ‘performance artist’ or sculptor. In exhibitions he has often produced photography, text work and sketches that evolve from the experience of a particular walk.
Walk embodies Fulton’s approach to walking as a direct physical engagement with nature and a desire to leave the landscape through which he passes unchanged by his presence. This commitment to sustainability extends to the selection of works in the exhibition, all of which were transported no further than the artist’s studio in Canterbury.
New works include Margate Walking (2011) a short film documenting a group walk in Margate. In addition four large wall texts, designed specifically for the exhibition in response to the gallery space, show the impact of politics and religion on Fulton’s work.
Also on show are a group of prints, photo-text pieces and wood works, many of which have not been exhibited in the UK before, give an overview of Fulton’s practice over the past 40 years. One of the earliest works in this group, The Pilgrim’s Way (1971) is the result of a walk from Winchester to Canterbury, along the ancient route known as the Pilgrim’s Way.
For Fulton, “walking is an art form in its own right; it does not have to be a lesser form of land art”. Since deciding to “only make art resulting from the experience of individual walks’’, Hamish Fulton has walked in over 25 countries over the course of three decades. His influences are vast with interests including the culture of American Indians and the mindfulness and meditation of Buddhist monks.
For two days in 2009 he was the oldest British person to have climbed Mount Everest and while he does not claim to be a climber or mountaineer, his walks have increasingly embraced the challenge of conquering some of the world’s largest mountains. Among these expeditions, documented in a recent exhibition at Hausler Contemporary Zürich, was A Guided Mountaineering Expedition to the Summit of Denali at 20.320 Ft, Alaska May-June 2004.
The exhibition at Turner Contemporary coincides with an exhibition at Ikon Gallery, Birmingham. A new publication, Walking in Relation to Everything, and a limited edition print signed by the artist are available to purchase in the Turner Contemporary shop.