Pace Gallery Beijing is exhibiting works by British artist David Hockney, The Arrival of Spring runs until June 6. Featuring iPad drawings and video by one of the most important and celebrated living artists in the world. Read to find out more about Hockney and to try out a related art project provided by Marianne Daquet of Atelier with your kids.
The Pace exhibition will feature a video installation Woldgate Woods, November 26th (2010), filmed with nine cameras attached to a moving SUV, and displayed across multiple-screens. Hockney became interested in video in 2010, when he realized that with multiple, smaller collaged footage he could create a larger, more complex image.
Hockney’s "Joiners" works are similar. Daquet describes how "Joiners" came about:
By the early 80s, Hockney was already a famous painter. The director of Le Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris came to his house in California to request his photographs for an exhibition.
Hockney has always taken photographs but never thought of exhibiting them. “Photography was never really a good medium for an artist. It is too limited,” he said.
The French curator spent one week looking through hundreds of Hockney’s photo albums. The artist started experimenting with the medium. He walked across his home with a Polaroid, took series of photos, and collaged them within a large square frame.
He realized then that the concept of time and space – notions he previously considered to be missing in photography – were present. In a collage, the viewer could discover Hockney’s entire house as well as the different lights and colors in each hour of the day. He called this type of composition “joiners.”
The first “joiner” consisted of grid-like compositions made up of Polaroid photographs. Hockney then processed 35mm photographs in his lab and created collages that took on a shape of their own, creating abstract representations of the scenes he had photographed.
He assembled and stuck the photos on top of each other, but never cut or otherwise altered their form. In some of his later compositions, he even freed himself and the viewer of the constraints imposed by a square canvas or frame.
Hockney has always been interested in how we perceive and represent space and time. His compositions opened new horizons for him; he was able to deconstruct not only time and space, but also the personalities and expressions of his models (mostly friends). According to Hockney, the information collected at a glance while looking at a “joiner” is more powerful than a video depicting the same scene.
The “joiners” offer a closer reading of how we see the world: from multiple viewpoints that are then pieced together by our mind. This has clear links to Cezanne, Picasso, and Braque – the Cubists’ fractured multiple viewpoints. Hockney has always been interested in Picasso, whom he considers a master. With the “joiners,” he built a contemporary extension to the Cubist movement.
To try the related art activity with your kids, click here.
Marianne Daquet is the co-founder of Atelier, an art school in Sanlitun that offers classes for kids, teens, and adults. A graduate of the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, she has exhibited in France, Beijing, and New York, and her drawings have been published in numerous international magazines. Daquet has lived in Beijing since 2006 and started Atelier with photographer Anaïs Martane after she became mother to two girls.