For decades the most continually innovative of British artists, Richard Hamilton (1922-2011) was widely regarded as a founding figure of pop art. The ICA presents two installations, Man, Machine and Motion 1955 and An Exhibit 1957 by Richard Hamilton to coincide with the Tate Modern's retrospective. Almost six decades after the artist presented these works at the Institute's original location in Dover Street, they will be re-staged to reflect the artist's close relationship with the ICA throughout his career.
Hamilton's relationship with the ICA was established when he installed James Joyce: His Life and Work (1950) with Nigel Henderson and later The Wonder and Horror of the Human Head (1953); and curated Growth and Form (1951) at the Institute's original location in Dover Street. Hamilton was a key member of the Independent Group, took part in numerous public discussions and the networks afforded to him by the ICA greatly furthered his career.
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. Hamilton designed the exhibition to be flexible, so that the frames could be moved and placed in different configurations. For the original exhibition at the ICA the panels devoted to travel by sea were shown on five screens which were combined to make a block eight feet square by four feet high.
Richard Hamilton developed the flexible exhibition more fully with his next curated show, An Exhibit in 1957 with the abstract artist, Victor Pasmore again at the Hatton Gallery.
The ICA exhibition will allow audiences the opportunity to engage with two of his most well known installations from the ICA's most formative period on Dover Street and celebrate this pivotal moment in the ICA's history. The exhibition will also include archival material which expands upon the previous incarnations of the exhibited work.
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.