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In pictures: David Hockney exhibition opens at Fitzwilliam Museum and Heong Gallery in Cambridge



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Influential British artist David Hockney launched an exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum and The Heong Gallery at Downing College this week.

The Daivd Hockney exhibition at The Fitzwilliam Museum. Picture: Keith Heppell
The Daivd Hockney exhibition at The Fitzwilliam Museum. Picture: Keith Heppell

Many of his works will be seen in the UK for the first time, including a new self-portrait painted in 2021.

The exhibition investigates Hockney’s lifelong exploration of how the surface of a picture can convey what we actually see, and it questions traditional ways of depicting space and optical perspective, explaining they are not true to our real experience of the visual world.

The Daivd Hockney self-portrait in the exhibition at The Fitzwilliam Museum. Picture: Keith Heppell
The Daivd Hockney self-portrait in the exhibition at The Fitzwilliam Museum. Picture: Keith Heppell

“The world is big,” David Hockney points out, and we are in it. He adds: “The eye is connected to the mind”, hence “we see with memory”.

He explains: “When a human being is looking at a scene the questions are: What do I see first? What do I see second? What do I see third? A photograph sees it all at once – in one click of the camera from a single point of view – but we don’t. And it’s the fact that it takes us time to see it that makes the space.”

The Daivd Hockney exhibition at The Fitzwilliam Museum. Picture: Keith Heppell
The Daivd Hockney exhibition at The Fitzwilliam Museum. Picture: Keith Heppell

He has worked in many different media, including photo-collages, digital drawings, multi-screen films, and paintings.

In The Fitzwilliam Museum’s picture galleries, Hockney’s drawings, paintings and digital artworks, will be shown in a series of provocative encounters with historic works by artists including, William Hogarth, Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, John Constable and Andy Warhol to enable Hockney and artists of the past to speak directly to each other for the first time.

The Daivd Hockney exhibition at The Fitzwilliam Museum. Picture: Keith Heppell
The Daivd Hockney exhibition at The Fitzwilliam Museum. Picture: Keith Heppell

The display at The Heong Gallery will chart Hockney’s pioneering approaches to capturing space and visual reality from the 1960s to the present day.

Starting with a drawing Hockney made while at The Royal College of Art in 1959, the display will move on to iconic paintings made in America in the 1960s and early 70s, photo collages from the 1980s, and an early digital drawing. It will culminate in a wall-length digital work featuring Hockney’s recent experiments with digital photography.

The Daivd Hockney exhibition at The Fitzwilliam Museum. Picture: Keith Heppell
The Daivd Hockney exhibition at The Fitzwilliam Museum. Picture: Keith Heppell

Hockney’s exploration has been conducted against the background of his intense dialogue with artists of the past. Hockney follows a tradition of creative experiments with optical devices that can be traced from Ingres’ proposed use of the camera lucida to Canaletto’s camera obscura and to the birth of Renaissance naturalism in the 15th century.

The Daivd Hockney exhibition at The Fitzwilliam Museum. Picture: Keith Heppell
The Daivd Hockney exhibition at The Fitzwilliam Museum. Picture: Keith Heppell

Hockney’s Eye: The Art and Technology of Depiction is at the Fitzwilliam Museum and The Heong Galley at Downing College until August 29.

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