Centre Pompidou: David Hockney, the hedonist

Published on 20.06.2017
Dive headfirst into the vivid colours of David Hockney! The Centre Pompidou in Paris is dedicating a retrospective to the 80-year-old British artist, featuring around two hundred works from the harsh realism of his earliest paintings up until his recent iPad compositions. Until 23 October.
© David Hockney
Portrait d’un artiste (Piscine avec deux personnages), 1972
Photo : Art Gallery of New South Wales / Jenni Carter

"Photography has always held a sense of optical fascination for David Hockney," explains Didier Ottinger, curator of the second retrospective that the Centre Pompidou has organised in tribute to this legendary painter, drawer and engraver. David Hockney is considered to be one of the most influential British artists of the twentieth century. Sixty years of his works are on display at the exhibition, showcasing a career during which the artist has produced countless portraits and landscapes blurring the lines between painting and photography.

Intoxicated by the hedonistic and sexually tolerant vision of California in the sixties, Hockney visited Los Angeles for the first time in 1964. As a response to the clarity and intensity of the light on the U.S. west coast, he started to work with acrylics. His hyper-realistic compositions depicting the "splash" of the transparent waters of a swimming pool drew the attention of a global audience. In the early 1980s, he created a series of photographic collages exploring movement.

The artist has never stopped challenging the relationship between photography and painting. Nor has he ceased to innovate, above all since the onset of the digital era. Having developed a keen interest for the graphical pallets offered by computers and mobile phones, Hockney has embraced the iPad as a new medium for his art. The elegant sophistication of the several hundred images he has produced with this technology are a testament to both his mastery of the device and his interest in new graphic forms.

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