Sep 13 2011: Four images in memory of Richard Hamilton (1922 – 2011)
I was very saddened today to hear that the visual artist Richard Hamilton had died, aged 89. I’d only recently immersed myself in some of his history again, after not really looking at his work for a few years, while writing about The Independent Group for Nottingham Visual Arts magazine, when looking at a 1962 book on German interiors, Design for Modern Living by Gerd & Ursula Hatje, and then, of course, on a fairly regular basis during the research and fabrication of background story I’ve been doing as part of the ongoing Robert Holcombe project.
Hamilton was a fairly obvious influence on this (something I imagine hardly needs pointing out) and it might be accurate to say that he and Eduardo Paolozzi have been to the fabrication of Holcombe what Marcel Duchamp was to Hamilton’s fabrication of himself. The complexity of Hamilton’s achievement – in image-making, writing, exhibition design, in popular and high culture, and in his sometimes perplexingly contrary obsessions – will ensure that what he’s left behind will continue to surprise us even when we think we’ve finally got the measure of it all.
All images are taken from the excellent 1982 collection of Hamilton’s essays, lectures and notebooks, Collected Words 1953 – 1982 (Thames & Hudson). It’s currently out of print, but will hopefully reappear at some near future date.