The citizen, 1985, Dye transfer, 48.8 x 48.8 cm (image); 64 x 63 cm (sheet), Hamilton Estate
Date
Friday 03 November 2017 to Sunday 21 January 2018
Location
MMCA in Gwacheon

Richard Hamilton was amongst the first generation of post-war artists whose work drew on a new kind of image world to produce a new kind of picture.  

Hamilton was fascinated both by the ubiquity of the mass-produced image in modern life and the way it operated to construct expectation, consumption and desire. By the 1950s, the decade in which Hamilton emerged as a highly reflective artist and thinker, mechanical reproduction had gone into overdrive. Images were everywhere, in magazines, on billboards and television. Increasingly they were in colour too.  Hamilton immersed himself in this image world as a participant whilst keeping sufficient distance to be a critical observer.  

From countless possibilities in this image world, Hamilton selected a few very particular images, each for a very particular reason. The sources are varied and include a pop star, a toaster, a political prisoner. Throughout a long career, from the 1950s through the first decade of the 21st century Hamilton’s work on the image always involved prolonged study over a long period of time, which then led to a group of studies or an extended series. 

It could be argued that, although there is no signature style to Hamilton’s work, there is a signature approach, based on this sustained working through the possibilities of a particular image; deconstruction, alteration, production, repetition. This serial approach characterises Hamilton’s work as a picture-maker over six decades and is the focus of this exhibition.

 Richard Hamilton: Serial Obsessions

National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Gwacheon

National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) Gwacheon opened its doors to the public in 1986. The building is surrounded by a rich natural environment, creating harmony between natural and artificial beauty. Kim Tae-soo, the architect who designed MMCA Gwacheon, applied a traditional composition of the architectural space to the modern function of the building, such that the museum presents both tradition and modernity. The building reflects the traditional architectural style adapted from beacon mounds and fortresses.

With its central ramp core resembling a Korean beacon mound, the building holds three floors in its east wing and two in the west. Across a total of eight galleries, MMCA Gwacheon focuses on providing excellent exhibitions to its visitors while playing a central role in the research of modern and contemporary Korean art. Galleries 1 and 2 hold thematically curated exhibitions, while other galleries offer exhibitions in different genres including architecture, crafts, photography, painting, and media art. The museum also houses a children's Museum with a strong focus on education, as well as an art library for the organized collection and preservation of different materials related to art.

Visual Arts UK/Korea 2017-18