David Hockney


Photograph: Richard Schmidt

I had a very very inspiring week.

I went to the David Hockney exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts on Thursday. As soon as I discovered that they had extended the length of the exhibition I got a ticket. I wanted to see why there was so much fuss about him.
He was recently in the news criticizing Damian Hirst for the way he works, using assistants instead of doing his “pieces of art” himself.

It was one of the most prolific and vast exhibitions I ever seen, you don´t know where to start looking, his paintings are everywhere. I would describe him as “fauve”, the use of the color is magnificent and what really got me was the scale of the paintings. He uses a technique of joining a lot of canvases together to create huge murals. He does the same with photographs that he took in various places – instead of taking one piece he takes photos of all the elements seperately and then combines them as a real view – a very cool way of putting a large scale image together.

The subject was nature and landscape. I have to admit that, in general, landscape painting bores me to death, but not in the case of Hockney, this was something else. The use of colour, patterns and textures in the canvas and also the images that he paints in his studio from imagination, adding bright colours that don’t exist in the real wood creates an unique, magic and intricate ambience. A lot of his work is done on location, so he goes there with a canvas and paints rather than using photographs to document the place. He also returns time after time to the same places throughout the year, giving views of different seasons, usually of the Yorkshire countryside.

What really got me was the amount of work – he is 75 years old for God sake! But what a prolific man, I’m very impressed.
Then as well, he has started with new technology and sometimes uses an iPad to replace his sketchbooks. Its a really quick way to draw and if you see the work he creates on the iPad from the distance you really don’t realize that its digital, that is only apparant when you get closer.

At the end of the exhibition you can see how Hockney also used his method of combining multiple canvasses or photos in the area of film. He created a device that carries 9 cameras pointing in different directions and he films a path or plants for several minutes. Then each of these recordings will be played back on a different TV in a bank of 18 screen – each one showing movements in different directions. But if you step back and view these screens as a whole, it creates an effect which recreates the landscape – a very clever idea. Then he started playing with this idea but in a little more theatrical way. He put the cameras higher and he staged a dance in a very bright yellow salon. The results are fantastic.

I really enjoyed this exhibition in a very smily warm way. I have to say that he is a very extremely artist and this exhibition may be his masterpiece.

Also, I think that maybe I have been wrong about landscape painting.

For more information or tickets, go here, its on until April

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