Juliet Sulejmani | March 07, 2017
David Hockney : Current
11 NOV 16-13 MAR 16
As I walked into and through the David Hockney: Current exhibition on White Night, a recurring thought that I’ve been having, was ever so pleasantly answered.
It is more of a question that I’ve been thinking about ever since deciding to pursue an illustration/art career. And that is, if the greats, like say, Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh… were alive today, how would they embrace modern technology? Would they use illustrator, photoshop? Would they use their iPad or iPhone apps to create their art? Would they have used Social Media, and if so, how?
So you can’t even begin to imagine how delighted I was to see, upon first stepping into the NGV David Hockney exhibition, on the wall in front of me, rows of iPods transitioning through numerous paintings Hockney has created using either his iPhone, or iPad. Hundreds, upon hundreds of paintings, it was just incredible. And I said to myself, this is it, this is what they would do. Create, create, create. Hockney himself has said “…Picasso would have gone mad on this, doesn’t know an artist who wouldn’t”. Something that amuses Hockney is the fact that, drawing was going out of style and the iPhone is responsible for bringing drawing back. Which is 100% true.
The story goes that Hockney’s older sister Margaret Hockney was the first person to encourage him to use the computer after she retired and bought herself one. He first started to use his iPhone to draw in 2009, and then in 2010 started using an iPad. Hockney has a large pocket inside every suit he owns in which he would keep his sketchbook, however now it has been replaced with his iPad. He loves that with the iPhone and iPad it’s like having an endless sheet of paper. He can document his observations of the mundane things in his life using his iPad and it’s easy, fast, there is no drying time and no cost in doing so.
Walking through the exhibition is like what it would be like to go through someones journal. You get this fantastic insight into his world, his curious nature, and it is very obvious that he loves what he does.
My favourite part of the exhibition is the series titled ’82 portraits and 1 still life’. You may be wondering why it’s not 83 portraits, or why 1 still life. The friend he had coming in that day for her portrait couldn’t make it, so he painted some fruit and vegetables instead. The portraits were all done in his LA Studio using acrylic paint, they were all painted on the same size canvas and he spent three days painting each one. None of the portraits were commissioned, instead he invited his family, friends and acquaintances into his studio so he could paint their portraits, but he didn’t tell them what to wear or how to pose. He respects the individuality of each person and wanted that to show that in the series.
I loved seeing the diversity in Hockney’s work and skill. The exhibition features a wide range of work Hockney has completed in the last ten years including, paintings, his digital drawings, photographs and video works. I also loved the vibrancy of the colours in his work, it makes you feel happy and joyous while you’re there and even thinking about the exhibition makes me smile.
David Hockney:Current is on at the NGV daily until the 13th of March, so if you still haven’t seen it or like me want to see it again you have six left to go and see it!
And to celebrate the closing of this incredible exhibition, the NGV are holding a special event on Saturday Night. There will be an exhibition talk and a live performance by musical-comedy legends Tripod. Links below for more info or tickets.
Illustration by me Juliet Sulejmani
1, 2 and 3: Installation view of David Hockney: Current at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.
© David Hockney Inc.
4 and 5: David Hockney in his studio in Los Angeles, April 2016 Photo: Shaughn and John