Stories from the Barn
A hive of activity in the Hampshire downlands
A Walking Artist Hamish Fulton
I have never heard of a walking artist until I saw the artwork of Hamish Fulton.
As soon as I saw the work of Hamish Fulton and read what had inspired him to create it, it made sense. He considers that the walking itself, taking nothing away, is art in itself.
‘walking is an artform in its own right’
He became involved in landscape art in the 1960’s when, during his studies at St Martin’s College of Art he began to explore new ways of engaging with landscape.
It is the act of walking that creates the art and Hamish Fulton believed his work would be created out of direct physical engagement with the landscape. It isn’t the production of the object that is important but how you view that walk and engage with it. He takes photos of the walk and then outputs that experience of the walk by producing a small number of images with text.
He has stated;
‘If I do not walk, I cannot make a work of art’.
It is such a simple message of intent and the works he produces seem to have the same message. A walk is a very personal thing. We all take different things from the same walk. We all impact the landscape in a different way so for me Hamish Fultons artwork is a deeply personal thing.
Walking is such an important thing for Hamish Fulton, that he has said;
‘no walk, no work’.
Such an honest statement. I started to look at my own experience of walking and what it means to me and to look at the photos I was taking. Hamish Fulton made me view the walking in a different way. In 1971 Hamish Fulton Hamish Fulton had an exhibition in the Tate Britain Gallery in London called The Pilgrims Way. Fulton captured in a single photograph the 165 mile walk on ancient paths, a route from Winchester to Canterbury. The photo, ‘A hollow lane on the North Downs’ provides me with the notion of following in the footsteps of ancient walkers and pilgrims is a privilege to respect. Every step has been taken by another before me and that notion is quite a powerful one. Old paths give us a way to commune with the past and yet move on.
‘I walk on the land to be woven into nature. A road walk can transform the everyday world and give a heightened sense of human history.’
So I have to thank Hamish Fulton for giving my walking even more purpose and a chance to try and summarize that walk in just a few photos. Quite a challenge.