Richard Hamilton a "multi-elusive" artist of the modern world?
thesisposted on 28.06.2011, 11:22 by Andrew K. Tyler
Richard Hamilton was born on the 24th February 1922, throughout his adult life he has been an artist, who has taught, who has made exhibitions, who has sought to engage with the most up to date technology, who has studied the theories and works of Marcel Duchamp and most importantly has accurately reflected the world in which he has lived. Hamilton has been broadly categorised throughout his career by two images, the small poster he designed for the This is Tomorrow exhibition and the spectre of Marcel Duchamp as the epitome of the avant-garde artist. The first secured the myth that Hamilton is the 'founding father' of Pop Art and the second that Hamilton would provide, for many, a gateway to an understanding of Duchamp. There is much more to this old style artist than these clichéd readings as I will show in the narrative of my thesis. I have chosen to discuss Hamilton in relation to four specific areas of his practice which, I believe, he has decided to focus on in order to highlight a narrowing gap between ‘fine art‘ and ‘craft‘. They are technology, book making, exhibitions and the reproducible image. The direct referencing of much of art‘s history is another aspect of his concern for the integrity of his oeuvres while he also maintains a subtle palindromic stance to wordplay, humour and politics. I will also demonstrate that the multi-elusive nature of his work is most obviously illustrated when the subject matter is mediated through a number of media producing a multitude of multifaceted images. He has been claimed by various strands of art throughout his career, modernism, post-modernism, Pop Art and neo-Dada but he is a purveyor of images that concern the modern. The modern being of today, this time and place, which he reflects back at society through a prism of contemporary technology, contemporary thinking and contemporary culture. Even when the images relate to the history of art they are purveyed using the most modern of techniques and media to create a contemporary reinterpretation of timeless imagery.
- The Arts, English and Drama