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Research into two Richard Hamilton installations

2014

During the Richard Hamilton retrospective held in the Museo Reina Sofía in 2014, the works exhibited included two installations that now form part of the Museo’s Collection: Man, Machine & Motion, initially exhibited in 1955 in the Hatton Gallery in Newcastle and ICA, London, and An Exhibit, produced in 1957 and also exhibited in the Hatton Gallery, in collaboration with the artists Victor Pasmore and Lawrence Alloway.

Research prior to installation

Due to the research process conducted before the exhibition, a great deal of relevant information was compiled on Hamilton’s creative process, his output and collaboration projects with other significant artists, which was particularly useful for producing comprehensive documentation on his works and their conservation and exhibition requirements.

Interview with Richard Hamilton’s assistant

Taking advantage of the presence of Nigel Mckernaghan, Hamilton’s assistant in recent decades, the Department of Conservation-Restoration conducted a series of interviews in order to understand the aspects related to the conservation and installation of his works. For these installations in particular, the interviews highlighted Hamilton’s interest in the use of modular elements from industrial manufacturing and standard measurements. Through comparisons between different past installations, the importance of the proportions of the elements and spaces used could be explored in more depth, allowing the flexibility of the installation and exhibition of these works in the future and the consideration of possible variables in the lighting and visit of the viewer.

Documentation for the conservation and re-installation of the works

In the specific case of Man, Machine & Motion and An Exhibit, the documentation collected facilitates a reinterpretation of both installations in a third proposal that uses the structural support of Man Machine & Motion and the acrylic panels of An Exhibit. The resulting fusion of these two works has been documented through Nigel Mckernaghan’s assertions based on the experience of Hamilton himself in the Hatton Gallery and ICA in 1958.

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