The Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo is pleased to present the exhibition DAVID HOCKNEY (organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, The Yomiuri Shimbun) from July 15th to November 5th, 2023. This is the first large scale solo exhibition in Japan in 27 years devoted to British artist David Hockney (b.1937 in Bradford UK) who is regarded as one of the most innovative artists of the postwar era.
Hockney has produced diverse works in a variety of fields including painting, drawing, print work, photography, and stage design for over 60 years. Featuring a selection of 120 or so works including a number of the artist’s representative works produced in the UK and Los Angeles, the series of recent large scale paintings The Arrival of Spring, and a 90-meter long new work drawn using the iPad during the lockdown period for COVID-19, the exhibition serves as an opportunity to fully experience the world of Hockney’s oeuvre.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo houses 150 works by Hockney in its collection, and shortly after its opening, presented the exhibition David Hockney: Prints 1954 – 1995 in 1996. This long-awaited solo exhibition is conceived as a result of this ongoing relationship between the artist and the museum, and is realized in full collaboration with the artist.
David Hockney was born in Bradford, England, in 1937, and is currently working in Normandy, France. He studied at Bradford College of Art and the Royal College of Art in London. Upon moving to Los Angeles in 1964, he came into the international limelight with his works depicting life in sunny California. For over sixty years, he has explored and experimented with image- making. A major retrospective of his work was organized by Tate Britain, the Centre Pompidou, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2017 in honor of his life as he reached his 80th birthday. The exhibition broke the record for visitor numbers at Tate Britain, with about a half million visitors. David Hockney is one of the most versatile artists of the 20th and 21st centuries.
The first large scale solo exhibition in Japan in 27 years
This is Hockney’s first large scale solo museum exhibition to be held in Japan in 27 years, since his previous show in 1996. Hockney has presented numerous exhibitions centering in Europe and the United States, and with both solo exhibitions at the Royal Academy (London) in 2012 and Center Pompidou (Paris) in 2017 attracting more than 600,000 visitors each, Hockney can indeed be regarded as one of the most popular artists in the world today. This exhibition, which traces over 60 years of Hockney's career through a diverse selection of representative works, will be the most comprehensive exhibition ever held in Japan.
The first showing in Asia of Hockney’s recent representative series The Arrival of Spring
Measuring approx. 10-meters wide by 3.5-meters high, Hockney’s oil painting, The Arrival of Spring, Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011(twenty eleven), created in 2011 in Hockney's hometown in East Yorkshire in England, will be exhibited for the first time in Asia. 12 large sized iPad drawings printed on paper will also be exhibited for the first time in Japan. Hockney’s remarkable works that dynamically capture the arrival of the vernal season through a rich sense of color are truly a sight to behold.
Experiencing the world of David Hockney, an artist of our times: A new 90-meter long scroll painting is a must-see, and one of his latest self-portraits is unveiled to the public for the first time in the world
Hockney, who turns 86 years old in 2023, continues to devote himself to producing works and further innovating his art. The exhibition introduces Hockney’s current life and practice, as an artist who has constantly been at the forefront of the contemporary art scene for over 60 years and remains on his pursuit to actively present new works. The new works produced during the COVID-19 pandemic, in a way that transcends differences in countries, cultures, and generations, contain messages that can be felt by us viewers because we are indeed living in the same age. We welcome visitors to take this opportunity to directly witness and experience the many works that can only be encountered in these very times.
AN OVERVIEW OF THE EXHIBITION
The exhibition consists of eight sections. In 1959, Hockney enrolled at the Royal College of Art in London. In an era when abstract expressionism and pop art were taking the Western art scene by storm, the young art student, who despite learning from various styles and artists had strived to develop his own means of expression without subscribing to a particular trend, soon came to attract attention as a visionary of the times.
In 1964, Hockney moved to Los Angeles, where he painted pool surfaces reflecting sunlight and sprays of water from lawn sprinklers inspired by the relaxed and casual atmosphere of Southern Californian life. Hockney's artistic attempts to capture the ever-changing reflections of light and movement of water have roused his interest for many years, leading to the exploration of new painting materials and forms of depiction.
Hockney has also produced an extensive number of portraits. His "double portraits" featuring two figures as in his representative work Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy (1970-71) has become a signature part of the artist’s oeuvre. Hockney focuses on people with whom he has close relationships, such as family, lovers, and friends. These portraits reflect the artist’s calm and composed gaze, as he carefully observes those in front of him so as to even capture their very personality.
Hockney states, "I do not want to repeat myself too much, I would rather find something fresh, something new." As exemplified by these words, Hockney had expressed a great admiration for Pablo Picasso, a master of 20th century art who constantly changed and developed his artistic style throughout his career. The "photographic collage" and Moving Focus series, which were produced in the 1980s while drawing reference from Picasso’s cubist works and Chinese picture scrolls, are groundbreaking works that recreate the actual experience of "seeing" within a two- dimensional surface. This approach of integrating multiple perspectives has also been carried over to his recent "photographic drawings" and multi-channel video works.
All the works featured in the second half of this exhibition will be shown in Japan for the first time. Over the course of 15 or so years since 1997, Hockney has continued to depict the nature and sights of Eastern Yorkshire where he had spent his childhood. As the title suggests, Bigger Trees Near Warter Or/Ou Peinture Sur Le Motif Pour Le Nouvel Age Post-Photographique (2007) is a landscape painting of a massive scale produced through the method of painting en plein air (‘in the open air’) in oils on multiple canvases in front of the trees that serve as its motif.
Furthermore, the iPad, which Hockney acquired as soon as it was first released in April 2010, opened up new frontiers for his artistic practice. Composed of large scale oil paintings and iPad drawings, the series The Arrival of Spring, Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 conveys Hockney’s outstanding ability to engage with a world that dramatically changes day by day and depict its transitions and transformations to utmost detail.
Since 2019, Hockney has been working in Normandy in Northwestern France. As the world came to a standstill due to the unexpected outbreak of an unknown infection, Hockney, who was living in a remote region and found himself little affected by such circumstances, continued to turn his gaze to the nature that surrounded him and the changing seasons. This ultimately led to the production of the ambitious 90-meter long masterpiece, A Year in Normandie. This exhibition serves to trace Hockney’s practice as an artist who attempts to earnestly capture the familiar everyday life that unfolds before his eyes and openly share those observations with others.
Exhibition Period: Saturday, 15th July 2023 - Sunday, 5th November 2023
Closed: Mondays (except 17th Jul., 18th Sep., 9th Oct.) and 18th Jul., 19th Sep., 10th Oct.
Opening Hours: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM (Tickets available until 30 minutes before closing)
Venue: Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Exhibition Gallery 1st & 3rd Floors
Adults: 2,300 yen
University & college students and those over 65 years old: 1,600 yen
High school & junior high school students: 1,000 yen
Elementary school students and younger: Free