Hamish Fulton (born London, 1946) is a walking artist. He made his first artwalk as student on 2 February 1967 and then over the next six years made walks, often very short, alongside other kinds of artwork, before finally making a full commitment to walking. Since 1973 he has undertaken to exclusively make art directly relating to his experience of walking, stating 'If I don't walk, I can't make art'. Although only Fulton experiences his solitary walks directly, the works he presents in exhibitions and books allow us to engage with them. In addition, he has also created communal walks as a way to construct shared experiences.
Fulton's walks range from just a few footsteps to epic journeys lasting many weeks, and have taken place on roads and paths, on pilgrimage routes, and in wilderness regions. As a deliberate strategy to be tested by a wide range of experiences and responses he has on occasion joined commercial mountaineering expeditions. In 2009, using oxygen and as part of a guided and Sherpa-assisted expedition, Fulton reached the summit of Mount Everest.
Fulton articulates the experience of his walks through a range of media including printed texts, photographs, wall paintings and what he calls ‘walk texts on wood’. Using humble materials and adopting the wilderness ethos of 'leave no trace', Fulton's work attempts an alignment with nature without exploiting or altering it. He has said, 'Why walk? To attempt a balance of influences.’ And elsewhere, ‘I walk on the land to be woven into nature…’.
Fulton has argued that walking can be considered an important artform in its own right, and has pushed for wider recognition of the aesthetic and conceptual possibilities of walking as art. Through his work he highlights not only the artistic possibilities of walking but its ongoing history and importance as a means of transport, a way of connecting communities and a spiritual tool. It is also a traditional means of protest and Fulton has made work that is vocal in its support of environmental issues as well as the plight of Australian Aborigines, Native American Indians and the people of Tibet.
Parafin will present a solo exhibition with Hamish Fulton in 2019.
Hamish Fulton first came to international attention in the late 1960s as one of a key generation of British artists, including Richard Long, Gilbert & George, Bruce McLean, Keith Arnatt and Art + Language, who were exploring new forms of art. He was included in important early exhibitions of Conceptual Art, including 'Konzeption - Conception' at the Staadtisches Museum, Leverkusen (1969), 'Conceptual Art, Arte Povera, Land Art' at the Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna, Turin (1970), 'Information' at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1970), 'Documenta V', Kassel (1972) and 'The New Art', Hayward Gallery, London (1972). Since then Fulton has exhibited extensively around the world. Major retrospectives have been presented at the Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (1985), Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (1985), Albright-Knox Art Gallery Buffalo (1990), National Galley of Canada, Ottowa (1990), Serpentine Gallery, London (1991), IVAM, Valencia (1992) and Tate Britain (2002). Notable recent group exhibitions include 'Ends of the Earth', Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and Haus der Kunst Munich (2012), 'Excitement', Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2016) and solo shows at Turner Contemporary, Margate (2012) , Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2012) and Bombas Gens, Valencia (2018).
His work is held in many major museum collections including Tate, London, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York, Metropolitan Museum, Tokyo, Australian National Gallery, Canberra, Kunstmuseum, Basel and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.
© Parafin Ltd. 2016