Hockney – The craftsman


One of the striking features of Hockney’s retrospective at the Tate Britain, till May 2017, is its overarching illustration of craftmanship, space and time throughout his career. No other artist has been more consistent in their life-long demonstration. He has used technology without getting lost in the medium. Whether with the fax machine acquired in the late 80s, the first color laser photocopier, or his ipad drawings, his business is always to expand our spacial awareness and make us experience rather than see.
When painting “A closer look at the grand canyon” stretching over 60 canvases, exhibited at the Tate Britain as one, he decided not to base it on photographs, but rather spend a long week right by the grand canyon observing and sketching. 
The result speaks of a time dimension as in any painting by Hockney, an invitation to join into the space rather than a simple glance at a nice scenery. He likes to underline that you have got to interpret the world not make a replica of it. This is important.
Because of his hearing problem, David Hockney has had to compensate massively with the eyes. A blind person might overuse their ears and be musically alert, he uses his eyes to locate himself in space. This shines through accutely in his visual productions.
When referencing his skills, he says that teaching someone to draw is to teach them how to look. He could have added, teach them how to feel because he seeks to represent the world of emotions. His charcoal paintings displayed like a sequence celebrating the arrival of spring in Yorkshire at five different locations (2013) are like a climax of his creativity, revisiting the basics of his art in its most simple attributes, black and white. Yet, he rendered this dear little lane of his as interesting as the grand Canyon. The mere power of emotional value.
That lane is displayed in this exhibition in numerous seasons and stretched over 6 canvases. It echoes the photo-collages David has been so keen on developing in the late 80s, using polaroids first, then color prints. Camera pushes things away making them a little more distanced but by using several perspectives, he creates the illusion of space. Pursuing on his quest to say more about that simple lane, he also filmed it using 9 fixed cameras and used it like a giant video-collage redrawing his own composition and giving it a soul. This is pure inventiveness with integrity to his core ambition to expand our spacial experience.
Drawing and painting win over the tyranny of the lens and create grandeur. Demonstration has been made.

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