Thursday, 5 May 2011

David Hockney

 Don and Christopher, Los Angeles, 6th March 1982

David Hockney’s work shows an infatuation with the Polaroid, which led him to “re-explore the riches of the space-time equation investigated by Braque and Picasso in Analytical Cubism” (Wheeler, 1991 p. 159).

     Photographing Annie Leibovitz While She Is Photographing Me, 1982
photographic collage, 25 7/8 x 61 3/4 in.

In a conversation between David Hockney and Paul Joyce they explore the way in which technology influences the way we see:

Paul Joyce: So called reality accords with a programmed way of looking which goes back to what you were saying earlier, that the photograph has influenced the way we look. If we are presented with a photograph we say: well, that’s life. But it may not only be still photog4raphers that are responsible for that. Movies have influenced our way of seeing as well, but they are not life at all. They show a world confected, glamorized, changed.

Still Life Blue Guitar, 1982  composite polaroid, 24 1/2 x30 in.

Mother, Bradford Yorkshire 1982, composite polaroid, 56x23 1/2

David Hockney: I do think it’s true that all depictions must be stylized, what we call stylized. There is no way they can’t be. After all, they are not really reality. They are put on a flat surface as stylizations of some kind.

Listen to this [quotes from Leo Steinberg*]

Surveying Picasso’s lifelong commitment to women as solid reality - a commitment relaxed only during the cubist episode – one arrives at a disturbing conclusion. That Picasso, the great flattener of the Twentieth Century painting has had to cope within himself with the most uncompromising three dimensional; imagination that ever possessed a great painter. And that he flattened the language of painting in the years just before World War I because the traditional means of 3D rendering inherited from the past were for him too one-sided , too lamely content with the exclusive aspect in other words- not 3-D enough.
Amazing, isn’t it! Picasso shows you both front and back, and this must be about memory because…

PJ: You must retain one when you are looking at the other. Of course, when we walk around in an object, such as a jacket that’s on a peg, we are also dealing with what we expect it to be like. We have seen a jacket before and our imagination and our memory are stimulated by something already seen and known.

*Other Criteria by Leo Sternberg (Oxford University Press, 1975).


Joyce, P., (1988) Hockney on Photography London: Jonathan Cape
Wheeler, D., (1991) Art Since Mid-Century London: Thames and Hudson


  1. i had to do a project for this but never ended up doing it because all of my pictures got deleted and wasn't able to finish it.. :(