For decades the most continually innovative of artists, Richard Hamilton (19222011) is widely regarded as one of the most important British artists of the twentieth century and a founding father of pop art. During the 1950s, the ICA
stood apart from a more conventional London art scene, offering Hamilton the opportunity to curate pioneering exhibitions and participate in experimental events organised by the Independent Group, of which he was a key member. Richard Hamilton at the ICA presents two of his seminal installation works, Man, Machine and Motion (1955) and an Exhibit (1957), alongside related, rare archive material, to coincide with the Tate Moderns retrospective. Almost six decades after the artist presented these works at the Institutes original location at 17 - 18 Dover Street, they will be re-staged to reflect the artists close involvement with the ICA throughout his career.
Hamiltons relationship with the ICA was established when he installed James Joyce: His Life and Work (1950) with Nigel Henderson and later curated Growth and Form (1951) and The Wonder and Horror of the Human Head (1953) at Dover Street. As a key member of the Independent Group, Hamilton took part in numerous public discussions and the networks afforded to him by the ICA greatly influenced his practice.
Man, Machine and Motion consisted of thirty steel, open frames in which photographic images were clipped. The frames were double sided, and therefore housed over 200 separate images, which related to four themes: Aquatic, Terrestrial, Aerial and Interplanatery. Hamilton designed the exhibition to be flexible, so that the frames could be moved and placed in different configurations. He developed this flexible exhibition more fully with his next curated show, an Exhibit (1957) working in close collaboration with the artist, Victor Pasmore and writer-critic Laurence Alloway. Organised around a modular hanging system, the intention was to give visitors an opportunity to generate their own compositions. Both exhibitions were shown first at the Hatton Gallery, before being presented at ICA.
This exhibition will allow audiences the opportunity to engage with two of his most well known installations from the ICAs most formative period on Dover Street and celebrate this pivotal moment in the ICAs history.
Richard Hamilton was born in London in 1922. He studied at the Royal Academy Schools and Slade School of Art, and went on to teach at the London Central School of Arts and Crafts and the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. Hamilton was a key member of the Independent Group, who met at the ICA in the 1950s. He represented Britain in the 1993 Venice Biennale and his work is held in major public and private collections around the world.