Ann Hamilton

1956 | Lima, Ohio, United States

American visual artist.

With a BFA in textiles from the University of Kansas (1979) and an MFA from Yale University (1985), Ann Hamilton has focused primarily on sculpture. Since the beginning of the 1990s, she has been recognised internationally, and even represented the United States at the 48th Venice Biennial in 1999. Among her early works is the body/object series (1984–1993), a collection of black and white photographs full of humour, provocation and poetry in which the artist placed objects of daily life on her body as a continuation of it, only to become trapped when the object becomes obsolete. If A. Hamilton enforces the issue of the body and its vulnerability in these works, she also invites the viewer to use their senses to surpass it. This is particularly true in her large theatre installations (which she is well-known for), in which she pushes the spectator to redefine the body and the spaces in which it evolves. She creates situations of discomfort and awkwardness in which the movements of the actors are embarrassing, entangled, repetitive and interrupted.

In the installation tropos at the Dia Art Foundation in New York in 1993, the visitors walked on a fleece of horses’ manes and tails as a performer read and burned the text of a booklet line after line, while a man’s hesitant and jerky voice reading the same text was transmitted in the space. A. Hamilton often evokes language and its disjunctions in articulation (like the jerky voice) or the significance that it should convey, such is the case in lineament (1994–1996), where actors empty the contents of books creating balls from the bands of text. Her work on language brings her to more discrete gestures, such as the miniscule stones that cover each letter on the page of a book in untitled (1992). Imbued with melancholy, her works experiment with the anxieties and frustrations of the human condition.

Annalisa Rimmaudo

Translated from French by Katia Porro.

From the Dictionnaire universel des créatrices
© 2013 Des femmes – Antoinette Fouque
© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions
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