A long-held wish will be coming true when Louisiana
opens its doors on a major presentation of the British-born painter David
Hockney’s world. The show spans more than 40 years of Hockney’s career,
from its beginning in the London of the 1960s to its present stage, in the
Hollywood Hills outside Los Angeles where the artist now lives.
David Hockney – along with Henry Moore and Francis Bacon - is among the
most famous British artists of the 20th century. He is admired for his technical
skill, his sure sense of style and his colourful, sensual impressions of the
world around him. For the very same reasons, he has at times been criticized
for straying from the path laid down by late 20th-century art. Hockney has
never ceased to believe in the ability of the medium of painting to convey
new insights into the seen. Characterized by an all-embracing appetite for the
world, his art has been as influenced by Picasso and Matisse as by his
This exhibition clearly shows how Hockney, right from the beginning, has
responded openly to what lies before his eyes and holds fascination for him.
Locations are of central importance, whether it be the London of his youth,
the legendary homosexual environment in L.A. wh en he first stayed there, or
the more recent landscapes of the Grand Canyon and Yorkshire in northern
England, his place of birth.
But above all, his works are concerned with something as nearly banal as the
experience of these places, people and environments - from his depictions
of the humblest of flowers in a vase on a table, to the cascade of water
momentarily left by jumping into a pool, to the almost impossible task of
conveying the sensation of standing at the edge of that great natural
phenomenon and national treasure: the Grand Canyon in the Arizona desert.
Hockney has become more and more interested in letting this subjective
experience of places and things unfold within a visual space that makes the
observer an active party. His organisation of this space involves the observer
very directly in the experience of phenomena related to concepts such as
tangibility and incomprehensibility, as well as to their psychological parallels:
intimacy and distance.
Though this exhibition, the first major presentation of Hockney’s work in
Scandinavia, is retrospective, the works will not be displayed in strict
chronological order. Rather, the museum has chosen to emphasize certain
themes that have been central to the artist throughout his life: the human
figure/human existence, the rejection of a central perspective/the perspective
of subjective experience, architecture and space/ the physical framework of
our lives and dreams and the sensual presence of the world/beauty.
The show at Louisiana is based on loans from museums and private
collectors all over the world. It has been realised in collaboration with the
Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle in Bonn and, not least, with the artist himself.
Louisiana is in the privileged position of being able to show several major
works not included in the Bonn exhibition: The Tate Gallery in London has
made the most famous of the pool paintings, A Bigger Splash (1967)
available to us on loan, and the loan of A Bigger Grand Canyon from the
National Gallery of Australia in Canberra has made it possible for us to display
Hockney’s two monumental Grand Canyon works (both dating from 1998)
alongside each other.
The Louisiana Revy
An exhibition catalogue will be published as a volume of the Louisiana Revy.
Besides an introduction by director of the museum, Poul Erik Tøjner, it will
contain the articles “The Surface of the Canvas” by Kay Heymer and
“Signposts to Hockney’s Later Landscapes” by Marco Livingstone.