Richard Hamilton Reflects: Prints 1963-1974

Installation by Graham Larkin (Curator)
with Ellen Treciokas (Senior Designer)

National Gallery of Canada, 3 Nov 2007 – 10 Feb 2008
Art Gallery of Windsor, July – Sept 2009
The Rooms, St. Johns, June – Sept 2011

An exhibition of 18 works — serigraphs, lithographs, photo-based prints, collages and a few related artifacts by the pop pioneer Richard Hamilton (British, 1922–2011). This exhibition inaugurated the creation of an upper-level prints and drawings Gallery alongside the garden court. During cyclical maintenace of 20 galleries in my capacity as Curator of European & American Art, I removed two half-walls and installed a full wall with central doorways, thereby creating a contained space and an enfilade in keeping with the classical layout.

The Exhibition opened with the spectacular 1974 collotype Mirror Image, which depict the artist on a surface that also allowed the viewer to see him or her self. Beside this is a vitrine showing a brochure with Hamilton’s own descriptions of many of the works on exhibition, written for an National gallery of Canada exhibition in 1970. The same text, and other text by me was reproduced in a lavish in-house guide (in French and English) with a mirrored surface. The wall is treated as a page, with quotations by the artist and a timeline showing the dates of the work directly below, running along both sides of the gallery and looping across to the 1974 work that opens the show.

Note the mirroring French and English introductory text on either side of the entrance. When renovating the surrounding 20 galleries of paintings, sculptures and decorative arts we knocked out a lot of walls, and built a few. In this case — a gallery alongside the garden court — the space as found had been converted into a dead zone by the addition of enclosing half-walls. I removed those and installed walls with a central doorway to produce an enfilade, ultimately (though only completed here on one side) book-ended by Cranach and Klimt nudes on the far walls.