Hamish Fulton: Walking is a Se7en Letter Word
Since the early 1970s Fulton has been labelled sculptor, photographer, land artist and conceptual artist. He, however, describes himself as a ‘walking artist’. In 1971 he made the first of numerous walks as a way to experience a physical engagement between man and nature. The resulting work is a translation of these experiences into a variety of media, including photography, illustrations, maps and wall texts. Whatever the form, Fulton’s work aims to express and record his specific responses to the places he travels through, allowing us to engage with his experience. The words and images always refer to specific events happening during the walk: moonlight, length of the journey, stones, birds, rivers. As the artist has stated on various occasions, his work ‘is about discovery, perception about nature, about yourself. What I build is an experience, not a sculpture.’
Over the last forty years Fulton has walked thousands of miles across 5 continents and 25 countries. The act of walking remains central to his practice and unlike his contemporary Richard Long, Fulton does not alter the form of the landscape he walks in, but records the experience through photographs and words. In this, his first exhibition at The Fine Art Society, the artist presented a body of works centred on The Cairngorms, a wild and remote area of importance to him. Between 1985 and today Fulton has made many walks through the mountain range in the eastern Highlands of Scotland, always over a 7 or 14 day period. Seven is a magic number that recurs frequently in his work. As the title of this new exhibition reminds us, ‘walking is a seven letter word’.