Everyone’s seen David Hockney’s A Bigger Splash, but this exhibition offers more than just an opportunity to see his classic early works. It shows subsequent, some never-before-seen, paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, and videos across six decades, laid out chronologically across 13 galleries.
“Time is elastic, and I play with that idea,” said Hockney. Space and time were the two things that Hockney tried to capture in two dimensions. Influenced by the work of Picasso and Cubism, he created Joiners assembled from borderless photographs to display complicated, multiple viewpoints, whilst still conveying movement through photography.
Naturalistic representation of human figures was also a key element in Hockney’s work. The near life-sized double portraits capture the subjects’ intimate and often complex relationships through the power of the gaze. What I especially liked about them was that the setting was so large and wide that it felt immersive. In one of the rooms, I almost felt like I was back in LA from the depiction of a cloudless blue sky, palm trees, and swimming pool. The straight lines of the office buildings, the mid-century design of the houses, the simple pattern and block colours gave me a sense of clarity and tranquility.
My favourite piece was 9 Canvas Study of the Grand Canyon. It brought me back in time to when I road-tripped to the site in summer 2015. It drew me right into it; I could feel the vastness and the depth of the canyon. The sense of familiarity and intensity took my breath away.
Just when I thought the exhibition was coming to an end, I walked into a room surrounded by multiple screens. The Four Seasons took its audience on a walk at Woldgate, Yorkshire. With every turn of your head, you’re in a different season: misty spring, flourishing summer, colour-turning autumn, and winter in glistening snow. It’s incredible to see this 79-year-old man continuing to change his ways of working and embracing new technologies whilst I still resist learning with an iPad.
I left the exhibition with a poster and a postcard and I'd say it’s definitely not one to be missed. It's best that you book your ticket online and go on a weekday because it was jam packed on a Saturday afternoon.
David Hockney is being exhibited at Tate Britain, London until 29 May: http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/david-hockney