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Richard Hamilton

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Richard Hamilton, born in 1922, was a leading proponent of the British Pop movement. After maturing from his London childhood, Hamilton decided to study in London too, firstly at Central St Martins and then the Royal Academy Schools followed, after dismissal, by the Slade School of Art. A fascination with Duchamp would earn him disrepute with many of his tutors and this fascination would go on to shadow his work for the rest of his career. After finishing, Hamilton frequented the Institute of Contemporary art and became acquainted with many artists and designers who later became key factors in the British art movements, such as Victor Pasmore and Eduardo Paolozzi.

Hamilton had a series of breakthrough paintings and exhibitions throughout the late fifties and sixties during which he found his footings and played with the ideas of popular culture. Paolozzi had already produced a series of work which is now widely regarded as uncorking pop art, and Hamilton saw the importance of his colleague’s work. The pair somewhat worked off each other during this period and Hamilton both organised exhibitions and prepared work for exhibitions, allowing him to gain experience for his involvement with ‘This is Tomorrow’, a breakthrough exhibition in 1956 at the Whitechapel Gallery. The success of this exhibition gave him opportunities at new teaching posts, most importantly at the Royal College of Art where he would meet and promote the work of Peter Blake and David Hockney to name others. During the Sixties, Hamilton became more involved with the arts in all forms, especially music and was later tasked with organising the only British Duchamp retrospective in the UK to date.

Throughout the seventies, Hamilton’s obsession with technology became obvious to the public with his efforts to combine technological breakthrough with art production by not only combining the physical technology with his work, but also utilising the same technologies to produce his work, in bulk. This combination of technology and creativity was not always accepted as legitimate, let alone en vogue, sometimes blurring the crossover between artist and printer.

The attention gained from these practices gave Hamilton the opportunity to combine his work with some of his political beliefs. Throughout his career, Hamilton publically objected to the clashes in Ireland and also showed his dissatisfaction with Nuclear Arms.

Richard Hamilton died on 13th September 2011.


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