Dust jacket for Richard Hamilton’s Collected Words

Richard Hamilton, 1983, 46.5 x 62 cm
I produced a very serious piece of writing trying to express what I had been doing in painting. And I used collage, pastiche, and all the other devices that were applicable to paintings, which seemed to be easily converted to the written word. And within a week of that being published I met Erica Brausen in the gallery on Bond Street: “Say, what about coming up to Highgate?” And she said, “Well, I won’t bother coming up to Highgate, but I saw that piece in the magazine and let’s fix up a show.” [...] It struck me then that the power of the word is greater than the power of the brush. [...]

Having written about things in a way that makes people think they’re serious and reasoned, I had almost come to the conclusion that perhaps the paintings were reasoned and serious. And it takes a long time before the thought begins to come back that maybe you don’t know what you’re doing. And now I’m thoroughly convinced that I don’t know what I’m doing and that writing is a way of finding out. Very often, the writing occurs after the event or partway through it. It’s not like writing a program, although I have done that. Understanding begins to come back to the work from the need to think about it.

(Richard Hamilton)

– “Collected Words,” Rob Giampietro, Dot Dot Dot #14, 2007

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