Biography of Hamish Fulton
Hamish Fulton’s delicate, elegant and evocative works are based on his experiences of walking in the landscape. The British walking artist, over his forty-year career, has covered more than 12,000 miles and travelled to locations that include Iceland, Japan, Yellowstone National Park and Mount Everest, as well as countless stunning scenes in his own home country.
Leaving no trace of his presence on the environment, Hamish Fulton aims to communicate the experience of his walks to viewers in a gallery and employs a variety of media including photography, illustration and wall texts to help him do this. He claims that “walking is an art form in its own right,” and occasionally considers the walk itself to be a piece of performance-like work. Typically, however, it is the prints, photo-text works, wooden reliefs and wall paintings that he creates after completing the walk that he frames as his art work.
Hamish Fulton (born 1946) was taught by the British video artist David Hall at Hammersmith College of Art before being accepted into Saint Martin’s School of Art in London. He matured artistically in the late 1960s, a period of great innovation in contemporary art, when the very notion of what an artwork could be was challenged. Art no longer had to be a physical thing like a painting, but could be a performance, a concept, or indeed a walk. Hamish Fulton worked alongside many of the Land Artists including fellow walking artist Richard Long, but distances himself from the movement by not making use of the land as medium, rather weaving himself into nature.
In recent years Hamish Fulton has begun emphasizing the political element to his works. While his practice didn’t start out as a form of protest, he recently claimed that his works were now about “justice rather than the role of the land.” His walks and works are a quiet yet impassioned response to urbanization and have been used to highlight issues such as the Chinese government’s suppressive treatment of Tibet. Hamish Fulton has been experimenting with group walks since 1994 when he was working with Marina Abramović. They are further testament to his increased politicism. In 2011 he arranged Slowalk (In Support of Ai Weiwei) in the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern to spotlight the restrictions placed on Ai Weiwei’s freedom of travel and artistic production.
Hamish Fulton has had solo exhibitions at Häusler Contemporary in Munich and Zurich, Tate Britain in London and Turner Contemporary in Margate. His show “Unlike a Drawn Line a Walked Line Can Never Be Erased,” was shown at Galleria Michela Rizzo during the 2017 Venice Biennale.