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Indepth Arts News:

"David Hockney Retrospective: Photoworks"
2001-07-22 until 2001-10-21
Museum of Contemporary Art, LA and the Geffen Contemporary
Los Angeles, CA, USA

David Hockney Retrospective: Photoworks is the first major survey of the artist’s work in photography. Widely regarded as one of the foremost British artists of the 20th century, Hockney is known for his vividly colored paintings and drawings that place him in the company of Francis Bacon and Lucien Freud. This exhibition, which ends its extensive international tour in Los Angeles, its only United States venue, highlights his exploration of photography from the late 1960s to the late 1990s.

“David’s outstanding work has inspired thousands worldwide and has captured the essence of Southern California,” said Jeremy Strick, MOCA director. “We are delighted to host this incredible show of photographic works which showcases his continuous innovation and experimentation.”

Organized by Dr. Reinhold Misselbeck for the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany, David Hockney Retrospective: Photoworks demonstrates the role that photography has consistently played in the artist’s career over the past 30 years. Hockney explores different ways of working with the camera, while continuing to produce paintings and print works that often depict the landscape of Southern California. Several themes that occupied Hockney during this period will be examined in depth, including his ongoing fascination with swimmers and swimming pools, his close scrutiny of intimate friends, his travels abroad, the peculiarities of the Southern California landscape, and the tradition of still life.

The exhibition contains few traditional color photographs and demonstrates Hockney’s continuous exploration of image reproduction. Hockney’s work has consistently examined the relationship between image and reality, space and perspective. “I’m interested in all kinds of pictures, however they are made, with cameras, with paint brushes, with computers, with anything,” said Hockney. “All of them are artifice—technology alters the way you make pictures.” In keeping with his philosophy, he has used faxes, laser prints, and color copies to create his signature intense colors. The shifts in color that occur in reproduction have also been an important aspect of his work.

Hockney has always been interested in photography. He first used it as preparation for his painting, but during the 1970s photography gained an independent role in his work. Using 35mm commercially processed color prints, Hockney created photocollages, which he called “joiners” until the mid 1980s. He compiled them to create a 'complete' picture from a series of individually photographed details. In the 1980s, Hockney primarily experimented with the Polaroid camera, making composite images of photographs arranged in a rectangular grid.

His collage technique explores the mysteries and nuances between natural and camera vision. Although, his subject matter ranges from portraiture to still life, his style from representation to abstraction, Hockney uses photography to examine our perception of reality. Family, friends, and collaborators and his own residence, the pool, his dogs, and the California and Arizona landscape are seen in many of his photocollages.

David Hockney
Peter on Diving Board, June 1968
Fujix pictographic silver halide print
12 x 8 3/4 in.
Photo: Richard Schmidt
Copyright David Hockney

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