This April The Fine Art Society, Edinburgh, is presenting an exhibition of new works by Hamish Fulton. Walking is a seven letter word comprises 10 works that show the artist’s walking and camping trips in the Scottish Cairngorms in recent years.
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 respones 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 fifty 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 will show a body of recent works centred on The Cairngorms, a wild and remote area in the eastern Highlands of Scotland and the most visited site of his walks throughout his career. Fulton’s exhibitions usually cover recent and past walks made in various places. The exhibition at The Fine Art Society focuses on one specific region, something rare and telling of Fulton’s special interest in the Scottish mountain range. Between 1985 and today his walks through the region always spanned 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’.