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Hamish Fulton

British, born 1946

Touching By Hand One Hundred Rocks (Fifty Three, Fifty Four, Sixty), 1989

Black-and-white photographs
46 x 54 1/4 inches (116.8 x 137.8 cm) each
James G. Forsyth and Elisabeth H. Gates Funds, 1991

Hamish Fulton’s art takes its form as walks in the landscape; in the past twenty years, he has covered more than 12,000 miles on five continents. The photographs and text he exhibits in galleries and museums are simply objects, intended to bring his own experience within nature to others. Fulton’s philosophy is “no walk, no work.” Thus, each object is directly based on a specific journey. Notes in a journal taken during each journey help to provide the text for the objects he later creates.

In this work, the three photographs show a desolate yet beautiful landscape with no signs of human presence. The text informs us that Fulton was on Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan, on a journey that involved seven days walking and seven days camping. He made the trip in June 1989, and at some point during his journey he saw a full moon. Another aspect of the walk is provided by the title: he touched one hundred rocks along the way.

There are additional, more subtle, elements that reflect the location of his walk. Red is an auspicious color in many Asian countries, and is often combined with black and white in Japanese art. The simple wooden frames reflect many Japanese wooden structures, and Fulton signed his name as Japanese symbols surrounded by a circle.

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