Richard Hamilton at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA)

Richard Hamilton (1922–2011) is widely regarded as one of the most important and innovative British artists of the twentieth century. 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.

an Exhibit (in association with Victor Pasmore and Lawrence Alloway), Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 1957. © Richard Hamilton Studio.

an Exhibit (in association with Victor Pasmore and Lawrence Alloway), Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 1957. © Richard Hamilton Studio.

Richard Hamilton at the ICA presents, on view 12 February–6 April 2014, two of his seminal installations, Man, Machine and Motion (1955) and an Exhibit (1957), alongside related rare archive material, to coincide with the Tate Modern’s retrospective on the artist. Almost six decades after Hamilton presented these works at the ICA’s original location at 17-18 Dover Street, they will be re-staged to reflect the artist’s close involvement with the ICA throughout his career.

Hamilton’s relationship with the ICA was first 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 onto which photographic images were clipped. The frames were double sided and 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 exhibition more fully with his next curated show, an Exhibit, working in close collaboration with the artist Victor Pasmore and writer-critic Lawrence 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, Newcastle before being presented at the ICA.

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 that 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.

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