David Hockney at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo

A Journey Through Colour and Perception
July 21, 2023
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A Year in Normandie(detail), 2020-21, Composite iPad painting, 100 x 9000 cm, Collection of the artist © David Hockney

The curators have thoughtfully structured the show to guide visitors through Hockney's artistic journey. It opens with some of his earlier works - instantly recognisable for their brilliant and audacious use of colour. Hockney's vibrant landscapes and his groundbreaking photo-collages of the 1980s quickly remind us why he is considered one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century.

As we move further into the exhibition, we see Hockney's insatiable curiosity propelling him towards new mediums and technologies. A particular highlight is the room dedicated to his iPad drawings. Hockney's experimentations in digital art serve as a testament to his fearless embrace of the new, demonstrating that traditional techniques can indeed coexist with modern technology in an enriching dialogue. The immediacy and vibrancy of these works, with their bold brushstrokes and captivating colour schemes, captivate the viewer in a deeply intimate way.

Amongst the newer pieces, his series of portraits stand out. These are rendered with an uncanny sense of familiarity, as if Hockney has distilled the essence of his subjects into lines, colours, and forms. The simplicity of these pieces belies their emotional complexity, underscoring Hockney's mastery of his craft.

The exhibition's layout in the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo provides ample room for visitors to appreciate the scale of Hockney's larger pieces and to engage with his works on a personal level. The gallery's natural light brings an added depth to Hockney's vibrant colour palette, offering fresh insights with every changing hour.

As we move towards the conclusion of the exhibition, we are reminded of Hockney's fascination with the concept of perspective. His playful yet profound manipulation of spatial constructs – evident in his pool paintings and the more recent series of distorted perspectives – challenge our understanding of what we see and how we see it.

One cannot exit this Hockney exhibition without a renewed sense of what it means to see, perceive, and depict the world. This thoughtfully curated selection of Hockney's oeuvre compels the audience to reflect on the artist's lifelong interrogation of the boundaries of representation and his enduring commitment to the celebration of beauty in all its forms.

In the end, this exhibition is not just a visual feast, but an invigorating exploration of how one artist has continually pushed the envelope of his craft. A must-see for both newcomers to Hockney's work and his longtime admirers, this Tokyo exhibition reinforces Hockney's position as an unstoppable force in contemporary art. It is a testament to a lifetime of creativity and a thrilling glimpse into the mind of a truly extraordinary artist.


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Acoris Andipa