Posts Tagged ‘frank gehry

05
Mar
17

Exhibition: ‘David Hockney: Current’ at NGV International, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 11th November 2016 – 13th March 2017

 

Drawing inside the line

What Hockney does not do in his recent work, is draw inside the line.* By this I mean he fails to invest each line with feeling and empathy. For Hockney, the line is only a means to an end, for his art is basically reductive: how little can I get away with to impart my message.

The Yosemite paintings riff off Ansel Adams photographs; the 82 portraits & 1 still life (2013-2016, below) are some of the most dire portraits I have seen in a long time; and the paintings within paintings (or videos with split screens), develop his earlier Polaroid photography work with multiple perspectives making up one image, to little benefit. He even self quotes in A bigger card players (2015, below) with a painting of his earlier photographic work in the background.

Recently there were 553 Likes on one posting on the NGV Facebook page – it’s marvellous, fabulous, love the colours, just brilliant – and not a critical word to be heard. You could call this a kind of popular hysteria. But there has been little professional buzz around the exhibition.

For the viewer there is the invitation to reimagine, to see the world in different ways. But am I convinced? Not at all. I’ve seen the exhibition twice and have been totally underwhelmed both times. It’s just a contemporary version of Etch A Sketch – iPad art for the noughties.

Further, there seems to be little feeling about the whole enterprise. It’s as though he couldn’t push the art out fast enough, just like taking selfies on an iPhone and uploading them to Instagram. And this interchange between computer and eye, where the paintings look like computer aided anythings – is just rubbish.

I’ll leave you with a long but important text by Max Raphael quoted in John Berger’s Landscapes (below). Here Raphael articulates the concept of pictorial space and denotes the importance of an intensity of figuration. For Raphael, originality of constitution is NOT the urge to be different from others (iPad paintings etc…), it is the grasping of the origin of things: the roots of both ourselves and things. While suggestive form is a form of shorthand for the artist to convey the contents and feelings within himself to the viewer as Raphael notes, the artist must act upon the whole man, i.e. he must make the viewer live in the work’s own mode of reality.

This is something that Hockney never gets inside and never achieves. In the end the work is just appearance and illusion or, as someone said to me recently, smoke and mirrors.

Marcus

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Many thankx to the NGV for allowing me to publish the media images in this posting (first section of the posting).

All other images © David Hockney, Dr Marcus Bunyan and the National Gallery of Victoria. Not to be reproduced without permission.

 

 

What are the methods of figuration?

1. The structuring of space.
2. The rendering of forms within that space effective.

The structuring of space has nothing to do with perspective: it’s tasks are to dislocate space so that it ceases to be static (the simplest example is that of the forward-coming relaxed leg in standing Greek figures) and to divide space into quanta so that we become conscious of its divisibility, and thus cease to be creatures of its continuity (for example, the receding planes parallel to the picture surface in late Cezannes). “To create pictorial space is to penetrate not only into the depths of the picture but also into the depths of our intellectual system of co-ordinates (which matches that of the world). Depth of space is depth of essence or else it is nothing but appearance and illusion.”

“The distinction between actual form and effective form is as follows: Actual form is descriptive; effective form is suggestive, i.e. through it the artist, instead of trying to convey the contents and feelings to the viewer by fully describing them, provides him only with as many clues as he needs to produce these contents and feelings within himself. To achieve this the artist must act not upon individual sense organs but upon the whole man, i.e. he must make the viewer live in the work’s own m.ode of reality.”

What does figuration, with this special material (see above), achieve?

“Intensity of figuration is not display of the artist’s strength; not vitality, which animates the outer world with the personal energies of the creative artist; not logical or emotional consistency, with which a limited problem is thought through or felt through to its ultimate consequences. What it does denote is the degree to which the very essence of art has been realised: the undoing of the world of things, the construction of the world of values, and hence the constitution of a new world. The originality of this constitution provides us with a general criterion by which we can measure intensity of figuration. Originality of constitution is not the urge to be different from others, to produce something entirely new; it is … the grasping of the origin: the roots of both ourselves and things.”

Max Raphael quoted in John Berger. “Revolutionary Undoing: On Max Raphael’s The Demands of Art,” John Berger. Landscapes. London and New York: Verso, 2016, pp. 50-51.

 

* “A line, an area of tone, is important not really because it records what you have seen, but because of what it will lead you on to see. Following up its logic in order to check its accuracy, you find confirmation or denial in the object itself or in your memory of it. Each confirmation or denial brings you closer to the object, until finally you are, as it were, inside it: the contours you have drawn no longer marking the edge of what you have seen, but the edge of what you have become.”

John Berger. “The Basis of All Painting and Sculpture is Drawing,” in John Berger. Landscapes. London and New York: Verso, 2016, p. 27.

 

 

David Hockney. "Untitled" 2009 iPad Drawing © David Hockney

 

David Hockney (English 1937- )
Untitled, 91
2009
iPhone drawing
Collection of the artist
© David Hockney

 

David Hockney. "Untitled, 22 January 2011" iPad Drawing © David Hockney

 

David Hockney (English 1937- )
Untitled, 655
2011
iPad drawing
Collection of the artist
© David Hockney

 

David Hockney. "Self Portrait, 25 March 2012, No. 3" iPad Drawing © David Hockney

 

David Hockney (English 1937- )
Self Portrait, 25 March 2012, No. 3 (1236)
iPad drawing
Collection of the artist
© David Hockney

 

David Hockney. "Self Portrait, 20 March 2012" iPad Drawing © David Hockney

 

David Hockney (English 1937- )
Self-portrait, 20 March 2012 (1219)
iPad drawing
Collection of the artist
© David Hockney

 

David Hockney. "Self Portrait, 21 March 2012" iPad Drawing © David Hockney

 

David Hockney (English 1937- )
Self-portrait, 21 March 2012 (1223)
iPad drawing
Collection of the artist
© David Hockney

 

David Hockney. "Self Portrait, 25 March 2012, No. 2" iPad Drawing © David Hockney

 

David Hockney (English 1937- )
Self-portrait, 25 March 2012, No. 2 (1233)
iPad drawing
Collection of the artist
© David Hockney

 

David Hockney (English 1937- ) 'Bigger trees near Warter or/ou Peinture sur le motif pour le nouvel age post-photographique' 2007

 

David Hockney (English 1937- )
Bigger trees near Warter or/ou Peinture sur le motif pour le nouvel age post-photographique
2007
Oil on 50 canvases
459.0 x 1225.0 cm (overall)
Tate, London
Presented by the artist 2008 (T12887)
© David Hockney
Photo credit: Richard Schmidt

 

David Hockney "Yosemite I, October 16th 2011" © David Hockney

 

David Hockney (English 1937- )
Yosemite I, October 16th 2011 (1059)
iPad drawing printed on four sheets of paper (39 x 35″ each) mounted on four sheets of Dibond
Edition of 12
77 3/4 x 69 3/4″ overall
Collection of the artist
© David Hockney
Photo credit: Richard Schmidt

 

David Hockney "The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven) - 31 May, No. 1" iPad drawing © David Hockney

 

David Hockney (English 1937- )
The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven) – 31 May, No. 1
iPad drawing printed on six sheets of paper (46 1/2 x 35″ each), mounted on four sheets of Dibond
Edition of 10
290.8 x 218.4 cm (overall)
© David Hockney
Photo credit: Richard Schmidt

 

David Hockney. "The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven) - 29 January" iPad drawing © David Hockney

 

David Hockney (English 1937- )
The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven) – 29 January
iPad drawing printed on four sheets of paper (46 1/2 x 35″ each), mounted on four sheets of Dibond
Edition of 10
290.8 x 218.4 cm (overall)
© David Hockney
Photo credit: Richard Schmidt

 

David Hockney. "Barry Humphries, 26-28 March" 2015 Acrylic on canvas 48 x 36" © David Hockney

 

David Hockney (English 1937- )
Barry Humphries, 26-28 March
2015
Acrylic on canvas
48 x 36″
© David Hockney
Photo credit: Richard Schmidt

 

David Hockney (English 1937- ) 'The group XI, 7-11 July 2014'

 

David Hockney (English 1937- )
The group XI, 7-11 July 2014
Acrylic on canvas
122.0 x 183.0 cm
Collection of the artist
© David Hockney
Photo credit: Richard Schmidt

 

David Hockney (English 1937- ) '4 blue stools' 2014

 

David Hockney (English 1937- )
4 blue stools
2014
Photographic drawing printed on paper, mounted on Dibond
edition 5 of 25
170.3 x 175.9 cm (image)
Collection David Hockney Foundation
© David Hockney
Photo credit: Richard Schmidt

 

David Hockney (English 1937- ) 'A bigger card players' 2015

 

David Hockney (English 1937- )
A bigger card players
2015
Photographic drawing printed on paper mounted on aluminium
edition 1 of 12
177.2 x 177.2 cm
Collection David Hockney Foundation
© David Hockney
Photo credit: Richard Schmidt

 

David Hockney (English 1937- ) 'The jugglers' 2012

 

David Hockney (English 1937- )
The jugglers
2012
18 digital videos synchronized and presented on 18 55-inch screens to comprise a single artwork
22 min
205.7 x 728.0 cm (overall)
Collection of the artist
© David Hockney

 

 

The National Gallery of Victoria presents a major solo exhibition of one of the most influential artists of the past century, David Hockney: Current, open until 13 March 2017 at NGV International. The exhibition, curated by the NGV in collaboration with David Hockney and his studio, features more than 1200 works from the past decade of the artist’s career – some new and most never-before-seen in Australia – including paintings, digital drawings, photography and video works.

Exhibition highlights include hundreds of extraordinary and sometimes animated, iPad digital drawings of still life compositions, self-portraits and large-scale landscapes including scenes of Yosemite National Park. Another highlight is The four seasons, Woldgate Woods (Spring 2011, Summer 2010, Autumn 2010, Winter 2010), a breath-taking and immersive video work showcasing the changing landscape of Hockney’s native Yorkshire, each season comprised of nine high-definition screens. A dedicated 60-metre long gallery lined with more than 80 recently painted acrylic portrait paintings of the artist’s family, friends and notable subjects including artists John Baldessari and Barry Humphries is also a major highlight.

Arguably Britain’s greatest living contemporary artist, David Hockney, 79, today works prolifically as a painter, also experimenting and mastering new technologies, producing thousands of drawings and works created on iPhone, iPad and in video. The artist will create a number of new works for the exhibition including an immersive room installation, which will be exhibited for the first time at the NGV.

Tony Ellwood, Director, NGV said: ‘It is a privilege to collaborate with David Hockney, one of the world’s most celebrated and truly innovative artists, to develop this exhibition which features dynamic new works and highlights of his oeuvre from the past decade. His recent use of cutting-edge technology will provide an engaging experience for visitors and reveal the mastery and skill behind his ever-evolving practice.’

Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley said: ‘Presenting the work of the illustrious artist David Hockney is yet another coup for the NGV and presents an unprecedented opportunity for Victorians and all visitors to the state to experience the work of one of the world’s greatest living artists. It will no doubt be another must-see event on Victoria’s cultural calendar this summer.’

Other highlights of the exhibition include Bigger Trees Near Warter, Hockney’s largest painting comprised of 50 oil on canvas panels, and the centrepiece of Hockney’s hugely popular exhibition A Bigger Picture at the Royal Academy, London and now owned by the Tate. Transforming the gallery, the three remaining walls of this space will display 1:1 digital versions of the same work and it will be the first time that this major work has been exhibited in Australia.

Hockney’s continued investigation into multi-point perspective will be represented by The Jugglers, an 18-screen, 22-minute video that depicts the artist in a room of jugglers, injecting Hockney’s signature playfulness into the exhibition. Again utilising technology to reveal a study in perspective, Hockney’s Seven Yorkshire Landscapes is a 12-minute multi-viewpoint video displayed on 18 tiled, 55-inch monitors which will monumentally showcase the extraordinary landscape.

Press release from the National Gallery of Victoria

 

David Hockney (English 1937- ) 'iPad drawings' 2010-16

David Hockney (English 1937- ) 'iPad drawings' 2010-16

David Hockney (English 1937- ) 'iPad drawings' 2010-16

David Hockney (English 1937- ) 'iPad drawings' 2010-16

David Hockney (English 1937- ) 'iPad drawings' 2010-16

 

David Hockney (English 1937- )
iPad drawings
2010-16
iPad drawings, animations
Collection of the artist

 

 

The largest change in Hockney’s drawing technique at this time came with the artist’s adoption of the iPad. The surface of the iPad is much larger than the iPhone’s and is more in keeping with the scale of a traditional sketchbook. Soon after adopting the new device Hockney began drawing with a stylus rather than his finger. This was a significant development because it allowed him to continue his approach to drawing, developed throughout his career, on the new device.

 

David Hockney (English 1937- ) Bigger trees near Warter or/ou Peinture sur le motif pour le nouvel age post-photographique 2007 Oil on 50 canvases 459.0 x 1225.0 cm (overall) Tate, London

David Hockney (English 1937- ) Bigger trees near Warter or/ou Peinture sur le motif pour le nouvel age post-photographique 2007 Oil on 50 canvases 459.0 x 1225.0 cm (overall) Tate, London

David Hockney (English 1937- ) Bigger trees near Warter or/ou Peinture sur le motif pour le nouvel age post-photographique 2007 Oil on 50 canvases 459.0 x 1225.0 cm (overall) Tate, London

David Hockney (English 1937- ) Bigger trees near Warter or/ou Peinture sur le motif pour le nouvel age post-photographique 2007 Oil on 50 canvases 459.0 x 1225.0 cm (overall) Tate, London

David Hockney (English 1937- ) Bigger trees near Warter or/ou Peinture sur le motif pour le nouvel age post-photographique 2007 Oil on 50 canvases 459.0 x 1225.0 cm (overall) Tate, London

 

David Hockney (English 1937- )
Bigger trees near Warter or/ou Peinture sur le motif pour le nouvel age post-photographique
2007
Oil on 50 canvases
459.0 x 1225.0 cm (overall)
Tate, London

 

 

The approach taken by Hockney in making this enormous work was technically innovative and complex. Working closely with his assistant Jean-Pierre Gonçalves de Lima (J-P), Hockney first painted each canvas on site, and at the end of every day’s work J-P digitally documented the progress made. Prints were then created from the digital images, making it possible to compare and contrast multiple canvases and check the progress of the overall picture at the location. In this presentation the painting is flanked by three versions printed from digital documentation of the canvases.

 

David Hockney (English 1937- ) 'The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven) - 4 May'

David Hockney (English 1937- ) 'The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven) - 4 May'

 

David Hockney (English 1937- )
The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven) – 4 May
iPad drawing printed on six sheets of paper (46 1/2 x 35″ each), mounted on four sheets of Dibond

 

David Hockney (English 1937- ) 'The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven)' (various)

David Hockney (English 1937- ) 'The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven)' (various)

David Hockney (English 1937- ) 'The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven)' (various)

David Hockney (English 1937- ) 'The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven) - 2 January'

 

David Hockney (English 1937- )
The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven)
iPad drawings and animations
Collection of the artist

 

The full suite of iPad drawings from the series The arrival of spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven) are presented here on monitors as final works and as animations showing each stroke of their creation.

 

 

Exhibition highlights and themes

iPHONE AND iPAD DRAWINGS

Hockney has a large pocket inside every suit he owns – it used to contain a sketchbook, now it holds an iPad. A hallmark of Hockney’s career has been constant experimentation with new technologies. Since the 1970s, Hockney has made art using Polaroid photography, colour photocopying, the fax machine, computers, high-definition multi-screen video and, in recent years, iPhones and iPads. These drawings also give charming insight into Hockney’s domestic life in Yorkshire, depicting slippers, bedclothes, pots of teas and flowers.

BIGGER TREES NEAR WARTER

Hockney grew up in Yorkshire in the city of Bradford; however, he left the district around age twenty – first for London, then briefly for Paris, before moving to Los Angeles. In 2004, Hockney returned to Yorkshire and set up a residence in the countryside. There, Hockney took much inspiration from the intensity of the seasons in Yorkshire. After living in California with its strong even light and mild temperature, Yorkshire offered intensely changing seasons and constantly modulating light.

Bigger Trees Near Warter is David Hockney’s largest painting and comprises fifty smaller canvases that combine to make one giant work. The work transports the viewer to the Yorkshire countryside in wintertime and surrounds them in a thicket of deciduous trees, their bare winter branches in a tangle above the viewer’s head. Bigger Trees is arguably the largest work ever painted en plein air and was mapped using computers and digital photography.

THE ARRIVAL OF SPRING

Prior to 2004, David Hockney was not considered to be a landscape painter; however, a return to his childhood home of Yorkshire inspired a profound artistic response to the local countryside. Hockney’s close attention to the changing seasons and moods of Yorkshire is reminiscent of Monet at Giverny, Cézanne at Aix-en-Provence, Corot at the Forest of Fontainebleau and Constable at Suffolk.

The digital drawings in the series The arrival of spring in Woldgate are bursting with the energy of springtime: trees full of blossom, luxurious pastures, and colourful flowers returning to life after the hiatus of winter.

YOSEMITE

Hockney’s digital drawings of Yosemite National Park in California, an area famous for its ancient sequoia trees and immense granite cliffs, highlight the artist’s interest in pictorial space. If The Arrival of Spring images featured relatively crowded, cloistered landscapes, the Yosemite series explores expansive vistas of mountains and towering trees.

The digital canvas on an iPad or iPhone is endlessly expandable, allowing Hockney to zoom in to add infinitely more detail, and then zoom back out to view the whole, expansive composition.

82 PORTRAITS & 1 STILL LIFE

This monumental portrait series started with a portrait of Hockney’s studio manager, J-P Gonçalves de Lima. In 2013, Hockney and his studio team suffered a tragedy when 23-year-old studio assistant, Dominic Elliot, unexpectedly died. The loss of this young talented man, who had worked with Hockney for a number of years, plunged the close-knit studio community into a profound grief and Hockney ceased making work. Hockney’s art-making hiatus ended with the cathartic creation of the portrait of J-P, who Hockney observed with his head in his hands – a pose that encapsulated their shared grief.

The other portraits depict Hockney’s close friends and family, including Australia’s own Barry Humphries, architect Frank Gehry and artist John Baldessari. Sitters posed for Hockney for twenty hours across three days, a strenuous feat for both sitter and the artist. When a sitter was unable to attend one day, Hockney turned to his stocks of fruit and vegetables. The whole series consequently has the charming title 82 portraits & 1 still life.

PHOTOGRAPHIC DRAWINGS

The world premiere, large-scale wallpaper work titled 4 blue stools is a digitally constructed image of David Hockney’s studio in the Hollywood Hills and features various friends and studio assistants. Referred to as a ‘photographic drawing’ by the artist, the work is a constructed image in which different photographs are digitally sutured together to create one reality. The people, the chairs, the paintings are photographed separately and from different angles and then joined together to create one single, disorientating composition that challenges the conventions of photography.

THE JUGGLERS

This multi-screened video work depicts a room of jugglers who were filmed using eighteen synched video cameras, each set to a slightly different zoom. The overall resulting image is disjointed and prompts the viewer to look more carefully at the scene. The work challenges the notion of single point perspective by offering multiple perspectives that aim to replicate some of the complexity of a human being’s lived experience in time and space.

A BIGGER CARD PLAYERS

A Bigger Card Players is a single image that further highlights Hockney’s continued interest in perspective and space. On first look, this image appears as a relatively commonplace photograph of men playing cards; however, on closer inspection, Hockney’s playful disorientation of space and perspective becomes more apparent.

THE FOUR SEASONS, WOLDGATE WOODS

Presented on four large panels, each comprising nine high definition screens, The four seasons, Woldgate Woods (Spring 2011, Summer 2010, Autumn 2010, Winter 2010) is an immersive video work that surrounds the spectator in the changing seasons of the Yorkshire landscape. Each film was shot using nine cameras, shooting simultaneously. The cameras were attached to a rig that moved slowly through the landscape. Like The Jugglers, each camera was set to a slightly different zoom and captures a different perspective of the same landscape and offers the viewer a new way of seeing the world around them.

Text from the NGV media kit

 

David Hockney (English 1937- ) '82 portraits & 1 still life' (installation view) 2013-2016

David Hockney (English 1937- ) '82 portraits & 1 still life' (installation view) 2013-2016

David Hockney (English 1937- ) '82 portraits & 1 still life' (installation view) 2013-2016

David Hockney (English 1937- ) '82 portraits & 1 still life' (installation view) 2013-2016

 

David Hockney (English 1937- )
82 portraits & 1 still life (installation views)
2013-2016
Acrylic on canvas
Collection of the artist

 

 

82 portraits & 1 still life is a major series of acrylic on canvas paintings created between 2013 and 2016. Each of the works was painted by Hockney while standing, in direct visual relationship to his subject, over a three day period. The works are shown here chronologically, beginning with the portrait to the left of J-P. The paintings depict many people connected with Hockney’s daily life, and others he invited to sit for him. When viewed together, uninterrupted – as they are here for the first time – the works also capture Hockney’s unwavering artistic drive.

 

David Hockney (English 1937- ) 'Augustus and Perry Barringer, 16th, 17th June 2014'

 

David Hockney (English 1937- )
Augustus and Perry Barringer, 16th, 17th June 2014
Acrylic on canvas
Collection of the artist

 

David Hockney (English 1937- ) '82 portraits & 1 still life' (installation view) 2013-2016

 

David Hockney (English 1937- )
Frank Gehry, 24th, 25th February 2016 and Edith Devaney, 11th, 12th, 13th February 2016 (installation view)
2013-2016
Acrylic on canvas
Collection of the artist

 

 

Edith Devaney is a contemporary art curator at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, where she curated the recent Hockney exhibition 82 Portraits & 1 Still Life. She contributed the text ‘Where do I end and they begin?’ to the David Hockney: Current exhibition publication, in which she observes: ‘The process is a very physical one for Hockney and he exhibits great mobility, continually moving forwards and backwards to look at the canvas close up and then from a few feet back … Throughout this process the level of concentration and intensity is unabated; it is clear that any exhaustion is balanced by the sheer joy of creation’.

 

David Hockney (English 1937- ) 'Julie Green, 11th, 12th, 13th January 2015' and 'Doris Velasco, 5th, 6th January 2015' (installation view) 2013-2016

 

David Hockney (English 1937- )
Julie Green, 11th, 12th, 13th January 2015 and Doris Velasco, 5th, 6th January 2015 (installation view)
2013-2016
Acrylic on canvas
Collection of the artist

 

David Hockney (English 1937- ) 'Yosemite I, October 5th 2011' (detail)

 

David Hockney (English 1937- )
Yosemite I, October 5th 2011 (detail)
iPad drawing printed on six sheets of paper mounted on six sheets of Dibond
Collection of the artist

 

David Hockney (English 1937- ) 'Yosemite II, October 16th 2011' (detail)

 

David Hockney (English 1937- )
Yosemite II, October 16th 2011 (detail)
iPad drawing printed on six sheets of paper mounted on six sheets of Dibond
Collection of the artist

 

David Hockney (English 1937- ) 'Yosemite III, October 5th 2011' (detail)

 

David Hockney (English 1937- )
Yosemite III, October 5th 2011 (detail)
iPad drawing printed on six sheets of paper mounted on six sheets of Dibond
Collection of the artist

 

David Hockney (English 1937- ) 'Yosemite' series (installation view) 2011

David Hockney (English 1937- ) 'Yosemite' series (installation view) 2011

 

David Hockney (English 1937- )
Yosemite series (installation views)
2011
iPad drawings
Collection of the artist

 

 

The body of work shown in this gallery depicts Yosemite National Park in California, United States, captured on location by Hockney on an iPad in same way he created the Arrival of Spring series. The change of light in these works is clearly different to that in the Arrival of Spring – more intense, harsher – and the scale of the landscapes more colossal than the winding roads of the Woldgate Woods works. The grand scale of these prints and the bank of monitors imparts some of the humbling experience of standing before the ancient sequoia trees and granite cliffs of Yosemite.

 

David Hockney (English 1937- ) 'The chairs' and 'four blue stools' 2014

 

David Hockney (English 1937- )
The chairs
2014
Photographic drawing printed on self-adhesive paper

4 blue stools
2014
Photographic drawing printed on self-adhesive paper

Collection of the artist

 

David Hockney (English 1937- ) '4 blue stools' 2014

 

David Hockney (English 1937- )
4 blue stools
2014
Photographic drawing mounted on Dibond
edition of 25
Collection David Hockney Foundation

 

David Hockney (English 1937- ) 'The group XI, 7-11 July 2014'

 

David Hockney (English 1937- )
The group XI, 7-11 July 2014
Acrylic on canvas
122.0 x 183.0 cm
Collection of the artist

 

David Hockney (English 1937- ) 'The chairs' 2014

 

David Hockney (English 1937- )
The chairs
2014
Photographic drawing mounted on Dibond
edition of 25
Collection David Hockney Foundation

 

David Hockney (English 1937- ) 'The group VII, 20-27 May 2014'

 

David Hockney (English 1937- )
The group VII, 20-27 May 2014
Acrylic on canvas
Collection of the artist

 

 

Extracts from David Hockney’s The jugglers (2012)

 

 

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10
Mar
11

Exhibition: ‘Ideen sitzen. 50 Years of Chair Design’ at Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg

Exhibition dates: 29th September 2010 – 13th March 2011

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I love chairs! There are such fabulous designs throughout the centuries. Once seen as the symbol of ultimate power (only the king and queen could be seated) our favourite chair now occupies the place of form fitting sculpture, the place where we feel most comfortable. Most of these works are not of that mould but they are a tour de force of the designers art and a testament to the mutability of the form, chair.

Many thankx to the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

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Frank Gehry (1929)
“Wiggle Side Chair”
Los Angeles/Cal., U.S.A., 1972
Easy Edges Inc., New York, U.S.A., 1972
84 x 37 x 59 cm
Cardboard, hard fiber board
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
Photo: Jörg Arend/Maria Thrun

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Joe Colombo (1930-1971)
“Elda”
Italy, 1963
Comfort, Meda/Mailand, Italy, 1963
92.5 x 95 x 96 cm
Polyester, reinforced glass-fiber
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
Photo: Jörg Arend/Maria Thrun

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Patrick Jouin (1967)
“C2 Solid Chair”
Paris, 2008
Paris, Frankreich, 2008
78.5 x 40.4 x 54 cm
Plastic (formed with technology of the Stereolithographie/Rapidly Prototyping manufacture)
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
Photo: Jörg Arend/Maria Thrun

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Joris Laarman
“Bone Chair”
Utrecht, 2006
77 x 45 x 76 cm
Aluminum (poured and polished)
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
Photo: Jörg Arend/Maria Thrun

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“With “Ideen sitzen. 50 Years of Chair Design” the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe is presenting the first large exhibition on recent seat design dating from 1960 to the present day. One hundred exceptional exhibits selected from the high-calibre collection held by the MKG, among them chairs, arm chairs, chaise longues and stools, offer an insight into the most diverse approaches and motivations of design during five eventful decades. The focus lies on the chair as contemporary witness be it as expression of a utopian idea or instrument in political protest, a reaction to ecological changes or a calculated business idea, an experiment with the most recent technologies or a sculptural art object, where the chair – divorced from its function – can only just be recognised as the source of inspiration. Chairs are regarded as the business card of any designer. They are visually more attractive than tables, wardrobes, settees or kitchen furniture and exemplify the increasingly blurry demarcation between art and design.

Designing a chair forms part of the great challenge of any designer. In modernity it seemed to have found its perfect answer in Michael Thonet’s Coffee House Chair Model No. 14, made in the revolutionary bentwood technique. Today, 150 years on, a multitude of new chair designs are demonstrating artistic, technical and social changes. No other object juxtaposes the conflicting interests of design as directly: appropriate functionality versus the free reign of fantasy and autonomous artistic form. A new idea lies at the core of any new seating furniture, which will then be moulded by factors such as use, the market, the target group, the company’s philosophy, materials, production methods, technological progress and not least the designers interests, depending on whether he or she is an artist, sculptor, director, architect or simply a product designer. The expression “same, same – but different” is particularly valid when it comes to chairs: an intellectual and a practical product, which is manifest in hundreds of forms. The exhibition “Ideen sitzen. 50 Years of Chair Design” therefore becomes a reflection of time and its self-concept, its necessities and the longing for freedom of artistic expression.

A design exhibition turns into an art exhibition once it presents autonomous sculpture. The chair freed from its functional requirements becomes a source of information only. The MKG’s most recent acquisitions illustrate this phenomenon of contemporary chair design and demonstrate the increasingly blurred demarcation of art and design. Some of them are design classics: the famous spherical “Sunball” lounge chair by Günter Fedinand Ris, the “Well Tempered Chair” by Ron Arad, chairs by Stefan Wewerka and Alessandro Mendini’s “Proust Armchair” – the latter combining baroque opulence of Louis XV style with an impressionist colour scheme referencing Marcel Proust’s time. The design positions represented in the collection are expanded by Joris Laarman’s “Bone Chair,” which was inspired by the natural growth of bone. Vladi Rapaport turned an oversized skull and an oversized brain into seats called “The skull chair” and “The brain footstool” respectively. Tord Boontje created the bench “Petit Jardin” where a tender web of leaves, flowers and twigs made of white coated laser cut steel is embracing the sitter. For “Veryround” Louise Campbell interlinked 240 steel circles to form an ornamental seat sculpture.

Putting the various ideas and trends in design into their historical context, highlights how directly it is informed by social and economic trends. At the beginning of the 20th Century chair design was dictated by social factors and functionality: good quality seats had to be produced at low cost for the masses. New materials such as steel tube and multiplex warranted new production techniques. The introduction of injection-moulding for plastic chairs in the early 1960s revolutionised ideas yet again. The 1960s are determined by the new prosperity after the war, but also by burgeoning social unrest. The exhibition presents some increasingly unconventional types of armchair, which reflect the tensions of the period. Gaetano Pesce’s “Donna,” 1969 is both: a comfortable armchair and a biting political criticism of women’s role in modern society. The prospect of growing markets led the chemical and furniture industry to invest in the production of plastic chairs, a development, which found its preliminary end in the oil crisis of 1973.

The 1970s produced relatively few sweeping designs; the decade is characterised by the criticism of capitalism, consumerism and a heightened sense of uncertainty in manufacturing. Stefan Wewerka created an icon of instability when he came up with “Classroom Chair”; the tried and trusted breaks away, dissolves. The American architect Frank Gehry on the other hand developed new chairs from corrugated cardboard, constructing and glueing the layers so they withhold the greatest pressure; his “Wiggle Side Chair” is a trendsetting seat constructed with minimal material investment and an original design idea. Towards the end of the century Alessandro Mendini created its antithesis when he combined a neo-baroque silhouette with light colours quoting Impressionism – “Proust”‘s purpose is the quotation of historic style, which makes it one of the early classics of postmodernism. The architectural and design-movement deliberately cited traditional style elements to reinterpret or pass ironic comment on their meaning. Architecture and interior design were turned into an intellectual game.

Around 1980 the postmodernist approach set off the Italian artists group Memphis led by Ettore Sottsass and Michele de Lucchi. Sottsass turned to the past and to architectural evidence of the world’s cultural heritage. He achieved new singular pieces of furniture inspired by sculpture and architecture – colourful monuments that for a few years were recognised as style icons. Memphis introduced fun and joy into the hitherto predominantly grey and brown furniture scene. Their products offer entertainment value. They are evocative of ideas, full of allusions to earlier cultures, hip, they cherish masquerade and express a way of thinking clearly opposed to industrialism and market strategies. Memphis’ furniture is simply made, using MDF laminated in bright colours. It is to Sottsass’ credit, that against the Zeitgeist Memphis made use of ornament.

While the group’s unique furnishing objects created a lust for new furniture, designers in Germany, England, Japan or Switzerland who followed contemporary product design conceived chairs from metal – tubular steel, steel panel or metal mesh. Intellectually these designers are followers of the Bauhaus creations from the 1920s and 1930s and their proposals are accordingly ambitious. Apart from Northern Italy Paris with Philippe Starck and Barcelona established themselves as the new centres of design. Starck designed numerous new models of chairs from various materials – metal, wood and plastic – within only a few years. His philosophy is to offer to the market ideas that are as innovative as possible while being fairly priced. He formed the counterpart to a fad from the 1980s, where design objects were produced in limited editions and offered to an exclusive clientele. Artists such as Donald Judd, Franz West and Bob Wilson were designing chairs and fittingly documenta in 1989 had a focus on design.

The 1990s return to a design ethos bethinking simplicity and rediscovering natural wood. Pale woods and a concise and rational tenor respond to the demand for clear shapes with a warm and natural character. Numerous designers, including Jasper Morrison or Axel Kufus, turn against the euphoria and affluence of the fin de siècle. Rifts within the structure of society are addressed by works such as Tejo Remy’s “Rug Chair” made of leftover shred reinforced by a carbon core and s of fabric. In Brazil the Campana brothers conceive an armchair from waste wood of the slums called “Favela”. The seat is pointing at the destitution of the residents of the slums as well as the creative possibilities inherent in poor materials. Equally Marcel Wanders’ “Knotted Chair” makes use of the simplest rope; its carbon core and hardened epoxy fix the knotted structure in the shape of a chair giving the illusion of the sitter being suspended on a soft hanging structure.

In the first decade of the 21st century designers like Konstantin Grcic or the Bouroullec Brothers continued to work on intelligent solutions for large social groups. At the same time young designers such as the Dutchman Joris Laarman or the Frenchman Patrick Jouin employ digital methods of design, which allow them to calculate new ways of construction. They also make use of Rapid Prototyping. Their objects are highly experimental and seem to offer a glimpse of the world of tomorrow. Other designers like Tord Boontje work with laser cut metal sheet to create ornamental compositions. Most designs by the younger scene are produced in small numbers and are distributed largely by design galleries. The seating furniture of a new era is taking up the elitist impulse of the 1980s – produced in highly limited numbers they are treated as unique art works. Museums who manage to acquire such pieces directly from the artists are thus in a position to present models that are wholly fresh to the eye and provoke spontaneous responses.

As one of the leading museums of its kind in Germany the MKG holds an extensive collection on the history of modern design. The collection of seating furniture is at its core and comprises hundreds of examples of the history of modern design of all periods from leading countries in Europe, Australia, the USA, Brazil and Japan. William Morris, Peter Behrens, Henry van de Velde, Le Corbusier, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Alvar Aalto, Eero Saarinen, Charles Eames, Verner Panton, Joe Colombo, Stefan Wewerka, Frank Gehry, Alessandro Mendini, Ettore Sottsass, Michele De Lucchi, Philippe Starck, Shiro Kuramata, Ron Arad, Marc Newson, Jasper Morrison, Tom Dixon, Konstantin Grcic and many more designers are represented in the collection.

Designers and artists: Eero Aarnio, Ron Arad, Archizoom, Teppo Asikainen, Gijs Bakker, Helmut Bätzner, Mario Bellini, Günter Beltzig, Ricardo Blumer, Matteo Borghi, Tord Boontje, Mario Botta, Andrea Branzi, Fernando and Humberto Campana, Louise Campbell, Joe Cesare Colombo, Paolo Deganello, Tom Dixon, Uwe Fischer, Formfürsorge, Piero Gatti, Frank Gehry, Ginbande Design, Konstantin Grcic, Gruppo Strum, Klaus Achim Heine, Patrick Jouin, Donald Judd, Toshiyuki Kita, Poul Kjaerholm, Gunter König, Axel Kufus, Shiro Kuramata, Angela Kurrer, Joris Laarman, Paolo Lomazzi, Ross Lovegrove, Michele de Lucchi, Vico Magistretti, Peter Maly, Enzo Mari, Javier Mariscal, Alessandro Mendini, Jasper Morrison, Marc Newson, Katsuhito Nishikawa, Verner Panton, Cesare Paolini, Jonathan de Pas, Pierre Paulin, Maurizio Peregalli, Gaetano Pesce, Giancarlo Piretti, Tom Price, Dieter Rams, Bernard Rancillac, Vladi Rapaport, Karim Rashid, Tejo Remy, Günter Ferdinand Ris, Herbert Selldorf, Hubert Matthias Sanktjohanser, Peter Schmitz, Stiletto, Ettore Sottsass, Philippe Starck, Studio 65, Roger Tallon, Donato d’Urbino, Marcel Wanders, Franz West, Stefan Wewerka, Robert Wilson, Tokujin Yoshioka and others.”

Press release from Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg

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Alessandro Mendini (1931)
“Poltrona di Proust” (Proust Armchair)
Studio Alchimia, Mailand, 1978
107 x 93 x 90 cm
Wood, Leinenbezug (painted)
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
Photo: Jörg Arend/Maria Thrun

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Ricado Blumer (1959) and Matteo Borghi (1976)
“Origami”
Casciago, 2007
Ycami, Novedrate, 2007
76 x 61 x 63 cm
Aluminium
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
Photo: Jörg Arend/Maria Thrun

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Stefan Wewerka (1928)
“Classroom Chair”
Berlin, 1970
70 x 68 x 40 cm
Wood (painted)
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2010
Photo: Jörg Arend/Maria Thrun

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Tokujin Yoshioka (1967)
“Honey-Pop Armchair”
Tokyo, Japan, 2000
83 x 81 x 81 cm
Greaseproof paper (folded into form)
Justus Brinckmann Society
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
Photo: Jörg Arend/Maria Thrun

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Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
Steintorplatz, 20099 Hamburg

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Sunday 11 am – 6 pm
Wednesday and Thursday 11 am – 9 pm

Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg website

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25
Nov
08

Sophie Calle. “Doleur exquise” 1984/1999

Sophie Calle. “Doleur exquise” 1984/1999

 

Sophie Calle
“Doleur exquise”
1984/1999

 

Set up by Frank Gehry and Edwin Chan
Exhibition view at Rotonde1, Luxembourg, 2007




Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Études’ 1994

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes the Art Blart blog which reviews exhibitions in Melbourne, Australia and posts exhibitions from around the world. He has a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne and is currently studying a Master of Art Curatorship at The University of Melbourne.

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