'DAVID HOCKNEY: BIGGER & CLOSER (NOT SMALLER & FURTHER AWAY)’ at THE LIGHTROOM on LEWIS CUBITT SQUARE is a full 360-degree vibrantly fascinating visual and auditory autobiography of and by David Hockney.
High definition projections fill the four storey high walls and often the floor too giving colour-saturated dopamine-triggering insights into his artistic process and passions; from the cool blue of California swimming pools to the Autumnal glory of more recent landscape works made on an iPad.
At times the images draw themselves in time lapse all around you until the finished artwork appears. There is an octogenarian that has fully embraced the technological potential of computer drawing and as the show progresses you realise it's a natural trajectory stretching back to those multi-perspective Polaroid montages from the 1980s - perspective and its many varieties being a preoccupation of Hockney’s.
It has been said by some critics that it's far better to see the actual artworks and while I would always agree with that in theory, it also kind of misses the point of this son et lumière and maybe better to view it from the point of view of a documentary form and allow oneself to be taken on the fabulous journey eloquently narrated in the Yorkshire lilt of this showman artist.
There are lovely observances, like how LA is a city designed to be looked at while driving at 25mph and there’s a wonderful road trip section from the point of view of the back seat of an open top car driving up into the Santa Monica Mountains with the soundtrack of Wagner’s 'Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla’ reaching a crescendo as the car climbs ever higher.
Perhaps fittingly for a building that will eventually become the Bridge theatre and host live performance, there is a magical trip through Hockney’s extraordinary work in Opera set design, including his famed re-purposing of Hogarth etchings for a production of the Rake’s Progress by Stravinsky.
Overall, the 55 minute work (which you can watch as many times as you like) is an absorbing, entertaining and educating gambol through Hockney’s life and art. We emerged into the afternoon daylight feeling good and with a real sense that there was a joy in the making of the work. It’s fun. Go and see it!
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