Ann Hamilton
Galápagos Islands, Ecuador


Ann Hamilton

Ann Hamilton was born in 1956 in Ohio; she lives and works in Columbus, Ohio.

Hamilton’s complex and layered work includes installations, photographs, videos, performances, and sculptural objects, often created in collaboration with armies of volunteers whose labors give the works a powerful sense of connection to society and history. Her sensual installations combine evocative soundtracks with filmed footage, organic materials, and everyday items such as furniture, books, or coins. She is as interested in verbal and written language as she is in the visual, and sees the two as related and interchangeable. In 1993, she won a MacArthur Fellowship; she represented the United States at the 1999 Venice Biennale, where she addressed topics of slavery and oppression in American society with an installation that used walls embossed with Braille. The embossed characters caught a dazzling red powder as it slid down from above, literally making language visible. Hamilton’s work evokes different spaces, different cultures, dreams, a sense of time and history passing. Her work has been featured at major museums and galleries, including Historiaka museet, Stockholm, Sweden; MASS MoCA, North Adams, Massachusetts; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland: and The United States Pavilion, 48th Venice Biennale, Italy. A number of major institutions have commissioned Hamilton to create public artworks, such as the Seattle Central Library, Seattle; the San Francisco Public Library Commission, San Francisco; Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, California; the University of Minnesota; and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

“We were snorkeling…and I started thinking about the experience of buoyancy, the way buoyancy is a kind of equilibrium, a kind of metaphoric state in terms of these dilemmas about how much we develop and how we protect. This state of buoyancy is the state that we want to achieve.”

—Ann Hamilton, on her Human/Nature trip to the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

Related Links

Ann Hamilton Interview

Produced by Lidia Rossner and Alexander Rossner,

Galápagos Video Documentation