2003, Hamish Fulton
Rolandseck – Leinpfad / Rhinekilometer 640
Hamish Fulton is one of the most prominent representatives of Land Art. He sees himself as an artist who walks. Fulton undertook his longest hike to date on behalf of the Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck. In 63 days he went on foot from Bilbao in Spain to the mouth of the Rhine in the North Sea. His cast iron floor installation shows seven paces as a symbol for his walking tour.
Seven Paces is the artist's first work for the public space. On 1 November 2013 it was set in the towpath near Rhine kilometre 640, so it is located almost opposite the Museum. The seven paces correspond to a length of 6.36 metres. Typical of Fulton is that the sculpture looks inconspicuous, aloof and unspectacular.
The starting point of Fulton's art walk was the Spanish town of Bilbao. In the following weeks he crossed Spain and France and reached the Tomasee in Switzerland, the lake which is one of the sources of the Rhine. From there the artist walked along the Rhine through Germany to Hoek van Holland, which lies on the coast. The last section of his walk took him to where the Rhine flows into the North Sea. In two months he walked 2,838 kilometres with just two days' interruption. That is about 3 million paces and an average of about 47 kilometres every day.
»No Walk, no Art«, says Fulton; »I am not a walker who produces art, but an artist who walks«.
Fulton's walk linked the mouth of the Nervion, which flows into the Atlantic, with the mouth of the Rhine, which flows into the North Sea. There is actually no connection between the two river mouths. The artist was not aiming to link two places geographically, however. He also wanted to establish a cultural link, because with his walk the artist also linked the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao with the Museum Boymans van Beuningen in Rotterdam – and with many other museums which lay along his route.
Hamish Fulton keeps a diary during his hikes by taking black-and-white photos and producing sketches. He treats this evidence and these artefacts as documents in order to be able to translate his memories of his walks into artworks in as sober and objective a manner as possible.
Documentary photos with atmospheric content are the direct visual results of his hikes. He also transforms the data relating to his walks that he has recorded in written form into word pictures on walls. In this case the data have been set into the ground in the form of a sculpture.
Fulton sees himself as a walking artist. For him, walking is work, just like artistic creation in the studio.
Hamish Fulton was born in London in 1946. He lives and works in Canterbury, England.