Saturday, May 31, 2014

walking journeys + landart: Germany, London, and beyond

Trying to make space and time for mini-trips and for art -  that's what I started in January, and each time, I was glad for it. Here's the next visit, a special one. Such a gift to finally be able to see this landart / walking art, and with it, return to memories of London and find art videos. (and such a good fit for the current photo friday theme "Movement", too).

Walking Transformation
Landart of the different kind: walking through the exhibition “Walking Transformation” with works by artist Hamish Fulton. The exhibition is indoors, in the Villa Merkel, an old gallery near here. The concept of the works are both easy and difficult to put into words: art that shows the experience of walking.

Here's a bit from the exhibtion website:
"For more than forty years now, Hamish Fulton has been transferring the act of moving on foot into an art form―namely the Walks. He creates works of art while walking. He undertakes Walks on all the continents of the Earth, for instance “From Coast to Coast” across the islands of Great Britain. Hamish Fulton transforms the experiences he has during these journeys. On the basis of drawings and photographs collected during the Walks, he designs wall drawings, murals, photographs, texts, and also objects." (more)
And here's a collage of Fulton's work, which was part of the exhibition itself. The image/line that stood out for me, that i returned to, to note down: "An object cannot compete with an experience".

Fulton's landart is both natural and experimental, and radical: the only art he creates. He stated: "My artform is the short journey - made by walking in the landscape." His work is guided by the stipulation: "Only art resulting from the experience of individual walks." 

Walking through the rooms, walking from walk to walk, it brought back the memories of own walks. The spareness of room and colour made each stand out, and gave space to all the colours that are out there, beyond the words.

Another thing that was special about this exhibition: The works of art were painted directly on the walls. Just some photos were included in the classic framed way. Like a walk, this exhibition is mostly immaterial and temporary, and at the same time leaves an own kind of imprint.

...I looked for a video, and there is one from an exhibition in the South of France in November 2013. It includes an interview and several of the works I saw, too.


Meanwhile, outside
The gallery is part of a park, which borders to the river Neckar - if you look out of the gallery windows, you see the river, and a walkway. That's where I walked along after the exhibition. And then had to smile: this riverside walkway, it is part of the Jakobsweg - the net of pilgrim ways that lead to Santiago de Compostella. Talk about walking....

Back home, I looked for my first encounter with Hamish Fulton. That was in London. After my journey to India. Here's the quote that goes with it:
"Nothing stays the same. Everything is changing. One thing leads to another. Here we go again."
And here's the diary note from back then. 2004 that was. Just took 10 years to finally see Fulton myself..:


Summer 2004
You have to walk

Visiting London again. The last time I've been here, I mainly took the tube to get from one place to another. This time, I walked, due to the advice of Lucien, a fellow traveller that I met in Udaipur. "Let me know if you visit London", he said. And so it happened: from tea talk on a roof top in India, to Falaffel and Lebanese Latte in Edgeware Road. When we parted, I asked him which Underground I should take to get to the Thames. And he said: "You have to walk", and then insisted: "It is not far, and you have to walk"

So i did, and it was great. I walked all the way to Trafalgar Square, through Hyde Park, past Buckingham Palace, and on through St. James Park, and loved it.

The wind was playing with the autumn leaves, and the sights along the way where so London. And i almost missed all of them, had it not been to the travel advice that felt like a wink from India.

The next day, for the end of my trip, I walked across Millennium Bridge, to visit Tate Gallery.

It was there that I saw the art book: "Walking Journey" from Hamish Fulton, an artist I didn't know back then. But the book, I just had to buy it after seeing the images of the journeys and the art he makes: "Walking slowly on the Condor's outline - Nazca Desert Peru 1972". Or this one: "Seven winds seven twigs seven paths - seven days walking and seven nights camping in a wood Scotland March 1985"


Tate: Hamish Fulton Slowalk 

Fulton also has started to organize collective walks - here's the first I saw, of all places it happened right inside Tate: "In 2011, Tate hosted a Slowalk staged by Hamish Fulton as as a public gesture of solidarity towards Chinese artist Ai Weiwei and his right to freedom of expression."


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