Up until his death in 2011 aged 89, the British artist Richard Hamilton continued to create arresting works in the Pop Art style, of which he was at the forefront. In 2010, he had a retrospective of his more political works at The Serpentine Gallery; to accompany the exhibition, Hamilton raffled off works from a series called Polaroid Portraits. I had not come across these works before but managed to get hold of one for my art collection. At the raffle Hamilton explained the Polaroid project and gave an insightful view in to his past. The project, in essence, was a real time photographic autobiography of his life through the medium of Polaroid photos and was exhibited in full at the IKON gallery in 2001. Starting in 1968, Hamilton asked artists he met to take his picture using a polaroid camera. Once he had collected 32, they were published in a volume, the first being in 1972. These books were small and devoid of text other than the name of the artist taking the picture and the year it was taken. On the cover was a list of all the artists contained in the book. The project eventually ran to four volumes, with the final volume being published in 2002, the artist list reads like a Who’s Who of 20th century art and includes artists such as Warhol, Baldessari, Bacon, Beuys, Lichtenstein and Oldenburg to name just a few. Journeying through these evocative portraits, you get a glimpse into his life and his love for art in all its forms. After the raffle at The Serpentine, I managed to track down and buy all four volumes of the series, some are easier to find than others.
(click images to enlarge)