Richard Hamilton (British, 1922–2011)
Lenticular acrylic laminated on color collotype with pasted paper sticker
23 3/8 x 17 3/8 in. (59.4 x 44.1 cm)
Purchase, Reba and Dave Williams Gift, 2000 (2000.382)
© 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London
Richard Hamilton is credited with single-handedly launching the British school of Pop Art with his famous collage Just what is it that makes today's homes so different, so appealing? in 1956, years before that movement arrived on American shores. Trained as a painter and draftsman at the Royal Academy and the Slade School of Fine Art in London, his oeuvre also includes a large number of prints in a variety of media, as well as full-scale installations, book production, and industrial design objects. His work in printmaking has been particularly innovative and utilizes the newest technologies available, notably computer-generated images.
In this optically complex print, Hamilton recreates the illusion of someone (in this case, the artist) touching the surface of a mirror, and then simultaneously seeing the back of his own hand, and the frontal reflection of his face and body. The lifesize proportions of the figure add to the scene's veracity. The piece is symbolically titled Palindrome, a word whose Greek derivatives mean "fast (palin) return (dromos)," or rebound, and applies both to words with alphabetic symmetry (e.g., "eye"), and photons bouncing off a reflective surface. Created especially for a group portfolio, Mirrors of the Mind published by Marian Goodman and Multiples Inc. (New York), the project gave the artist the impetus to try a new technologylenticular laminated three-dimensional printing.