How many living painters do you know, who are referred to as the outstanding artists of the XX century?
God bless David Hockney on the eve of his 80th birthday: just before the opening of the exhibition 20 000 tickets have been sold (as noted by The Guardian). This retrospective is most likely to beat the attendance record of the other two London exhibitions by the artist: "Bigger Trees Near Warter", 2012 and "82 portraist and still life ", 2016 at the Royal Academy of arts.
There are more than enough of those wishing to see the cult paintings. The visitors of the Hockney`s age linger on in front of the paintings - and it's clear - the heroes of the artworks might be familiar to them; there are many young people - which is understandable - Hockney told that he`s always 30 when he paints.
The exhibition includes everything that the artist was interested in and ,respectively , has been visualizing for over 60 years. The viewer is lead chronologically from Hockney`s Self-portrait of 1954 and well-known paintings of the 1970s to his latest multimedia meditive artworks: David`s passion for technologies is known from the Polaroids in the 1980s to digital video. Nevertheless, the artist`s fidelity to pictorial techniques as the basis remains constant.
Dry biographical facts only determine the temporal and territorial scope of the artist`s multifaceted creative life. David Hockney`s success in painting , stage design, art, literature and photography allows us to speak about Hockney as one of the most influential British artist, awarded, by the way, one of the very few, of the order of Merit and the order of the Knights of Honor.
Portrait of an Artist. 1972
Hockney was born in 1937 in Bradford. He received his academic education in the late 50's at the prestigious Royal College of art . Already in 1961 he participated in the exhibition "Young Contemporaries", which put him at the forefront of British pop art. Just seven years later, literally having taken in different visual techniques and styles and having visited New York, California, Beirut, his first major London exhibition turned the artist's name into a recognizable brand. From that moment on David Hockney stays in the center of the intersection of non-conformism and traditionalism in art. His active anti conservative views attracts the attention of people far from art.
David Hockney`s paintings are scattered is in the collections of the museums all over the world: UK, Japan, America, Australia. Should we say about the private collectors` joy of possessing works by the artist?
The curators have managed to gather almost all of the major works
by Hockney from numerous large collections.
A large double portrait of Christopher Isherwood and the artist Don Bacardi (1968), presented in the exhibition,
hasn`t been seen in public for the past 30 years.
Play Within a Play. 1963
The Tate cleverly introduces us with a reminder of some of his strategies, for example in ‘Play Within a Play’ he experiments with pictorial space – a male figure, hands seemingly pressed up against a plexiglass screen stands in a narrow apparent space infront of a painted tapestry.
With ‘Model with an Unfinished Portrait’ we puzzle over the illusion of painting itself – in the background of a portrait of a sleeping model his own part-finished self-portrait works on a blank pad, the rear of another canvas cutting in to the space.
Drawn by the sun, excitement and freedom of Los Angeles, he depicted the straight lines of modernist buildings, lawn sprinklers and reflections from sunlit pools, riffing on modernist tropes. ‘A Bigger Splash’ is almost abstract until you add the splash. He enjoyed the fact that it took seven days to paint the one second splash – a dig at the spontaneity of Pollocks drips set upon a modernist grid.
A Bigger Splash. 1967
TATE Modern collection
1.2. Domestic Scene, Los Angeles 1963
Musing upon the limitations of photography,
he took to cubist multiple viewpoints set in grids of polaroids or collages of 35mm prints.
This added time, space and movement, best achieved in ‘Pearblossom Highway’
The Tate proposes that these assemblages were inspiration for later panoramas where landscape becomes an dazzling abstract of vivid colour, as in ‘Nichols Canyon’ (picture below)
Going Up Garrowby Hill. 2000
Woodgate Woods was sold at NY auction in 2016 for 11.7 million dollars.
1.2. Wolgate Woods. 6&9 November 2006
Talent multiplied by curiosity is the secret of Hockney`s creative longevity:
last month, the British tabloid "The Sun" has changed its logo for a day for the one edited by the artist using an iPad.
At the exhibition you can order the book from "Taschen" publisher in "Sumo" format - a huge (50/70) monograph of David Hockney, designed by the artist himself. ,"There are lots of books with my works... this book has it all," said the artist . The released series is limited, and the first 9,000 copies are signed by the author. The cost of the book is 1750 GBP.
In June the exhibition will travel to Centre Pompidou in Paris, and in November America will have a chance to enjoy this stunning exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
Title photo: David Hockney’s Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monica (1990) at Tate Britain. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA
Materials used: Tate Britain, cellophaneland.com