May 18 - June 16, 2007
The Christine Burgin Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of a new work by the English artist, Hamish Fulton. Titled, GERONIMO HOMELAND, it is the result of a 16 day walk made by the artist in May 2006 in the world's first designated wilderness, the Gila National Forest in Southwestern New Mexico. The walk was inspired by two historical figures integrally connected to the Gila: Geronimo, who was born there in 1829 and Aldo Leopold, the forester and environmentalist who was instrumental in proposing that the area be managed as a wilderness area. Fulton walked and camped in the area over a 16-day period, limited in his travels by the need to stay near a source of water, observing the land and weather. The Gila National Forest is one of the most remote and least traversed of the big national parks in the United States. Transected by the Gila River, it is 3.3 million acres and was declared a wilderness area in 1924. Geronimo, a warrior and leader of the Chiricahua Apache, was born on the banks of the Gila River near the Arizona border in what was Mexico and is now New Mexico. He achieved near mythical status as the last Native American leader to be captured by the United States Army. Just before his capture he lived in the Gila as a farmer with a small band of Native Americans. Geronimo died as a prisoner of war at Fort Sill, Oklahoma on 1 February 1909. Aldo Leopold was a Yale-trained forester and wildlife management innovator who founded the Wilderness Society in 1935 and who is credited with starting the modern wilderness conservation movement. He worked for 19 years in and around the Gila area. A portion of the park is named in his honor.
In response to this walk Fulton has created two large wall texts and a series of drawings, collages and prints, diaristic reflections of the time he spent in this area. An artist's book accompanies the exhibition and offers a rare glimpse into Fulton's thoughts. Fulton ruminates on the lives of Geronimo and Leopold, contemplating their impact and questioning his own. The words that Fulton chooses and repeats, both in the book and in the works created, lead to a poetic allusion to larger themes such as the flow of historical events and natural forces both past and future, the effects of climate change, the potential of environmental activism and the individual's relationship to such stories, events and activities as observer or participant.
This is Fulton's second exhibition at the gallery. Recent projects by Fulton have included walks in Japan, Switzerland, Germany, Scotland, France, Portugal, Spain, Argentina Tibet, Alaska and the Arctic. A survey of 25 years of work titled Hamish Fulton: Walking Journey was presented at the Tate Britain in 2002.
This show is in cooperation with the Texas Gallery, Houston, where other works from the Gila walk were on exhibition in January 2007.
GERONIMO HOMELAND, 2007
Installation view, Christine Burgin Gallery, New York