DAVID HOCKNEY. 82 Portraits and 1 Still-life
English-born but Californian by adoption, David Hockney is among the best-known and most successful contemporary artists. He trained at the Royal College of Art in London from 1957 to 1962, and his participation in the 1960 London exhibition Young Contemporaries at the Whitechapel Art Gallery led him to become the leading exponent of Pop Art in the English-speaking world. In 1964 he moved to Los Angeles, where he translated the atmosphere of the American metropolis into famous works in which the backgrounds are saturated with the dazzling Californian light. The figurative element has always played a pivotal role in his chosen genres of portraiture and landscape, and is part of a constant interaction between traditional art techniques and new media.
The eighty-two portraits on display, executed between 2013 and 2016 and considered by the artist as a unique body of work, offer a particular vision of Hockney’s life in Los Angeles and his relationship with the international art world, gallery owners, critics, curators and artists. Among the portraits are the renowned faces of John Baldessari, Jean-Pierre Gonçalves de Lima, Larry Gagosian, Stephanie Barron, but also family members and ordinary people.
Hockney created each portrait identically. The completion time was three days, during which each subject sat in turn in the same chair in front of the same neutral background. The eighty-two paintings, all with the same dimensions, form a taxonomy of types and characters, a visual essay on the human body that transcends classifications of gender, identity or nationality. From the apparently limited format of a figure seated against a two-tone background, an infinite range of multifaceted human temperaments emerge, once again confirming the greatness of this master of our times.
The exhibition will travel to the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, and the LACMA, Los Angeles
10 am – 6 pm (ticket office 10 am – 5 pm)
Closed on Mondays
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