Although a reasonably simplistic act for most of us, taking a walk can be – and has been – viewed as so much more over the past century. A perfect antidote when needing to clear ones head, embrace the (occasionally) wonderful weather or simply for something to do; walking has been the source of inspiration for countless novels, films and works of art.
The latter of which is the basis of a new exhibition launching tomorrow at the Mac Gallery in Birmingham. Walk On is an expansive collection of works from an array of artists strongly influenced by the act of walking or taking a journey. The exhibiton includes works from the likes of Marina Abramović, Carey Young and Brendan Stuart Burns.
In celebration of the show, we have compiled our 5 key walks, spanning a multitude of genres, including music, film and the tales of the 'real life Forrest Gump.
1. Nancy Sinatra, These Boots Are Made For Walking
The now iconic partnership between Nancy Sinatra and go-go boots first appeared during the video for ‘These boots are made for walking’. The 60’s classic has since been covered countless times over.
2. Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods
One of the greatest travel writers of our time, Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods follows his journey as he attempts to walk the Appalachian Trail, encountering all manner of characters, stories and the occasional near miss with a bear along the way.
3. Richard Long
Included in the Walk On exhibition, land artist Richard has been inspired by walking time and time again. For a piece in 1998, Long walked 1030 in 33 days, depositing a stone per day to measure his journey from the ‘the southernmost point to the northernmost point of mainland Britain.’ The piece is one of the largest ever recorded works of land art.
4. Graham Hughes
Often noted as the 'real life Forrest Gump', in 2012 Graham Hughes became the first man to travel across all 201 countries in the world, entirely on foot. Film maker Hughes travelled an astounding 160,000 miles in 1426 days, racking up an impressive array of travelling tales and memorabilia from the adventure of a lifetime
5. Into the Wild
Although not strictly just a walking journey, Into the Wild documents the real life explorations of John McCandless, who, on leaving university, gave away his $24,000 of savings and set out to travel America and live in the Alaskan wilderness. Inspiring and heartwarming, it is the ultimate tale of discovery.
Walk On runs until 30 March.
Text by Rhiannon Wastell