Culture / Art Republik

‘David Hockney: A Matter of Perspective’ special exhibition at the STPI Gallery, Singapore

STPI – Creative Workshop and Gallery celebrates its 15th anniversary with a David Hockney exhibition

Jun 28, 2017 | By Art Republik

David Hockney, ‘Hotel Acatlan: Two Weeks Later’, 1985. Image courtesy Richard Schmidt.

To celebrate its 15th anniversary, STPI – Creative Workshop and Gallery will be mounting ‘David Hockney: A Matter of Perspective’ for its annual special exhibition, running from July 1 to September 9.  On display will be 35 works by the renowned British artist from the National Collection.

Born in Bradford in 1937, Hockney studied at the Bradford School of Art, then the Royal College of Art, graduating in 1962. In 1991, he was elected to the Royal Academy of Arts and in 2012, the Queen appointed him a member of the Order of Merit.

This year, Hockney celebrates his 80th birthday, and there are major institutional retrospectives at National Gallery of Victoria and Tate Britain back at home, as well as Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

The special showcase at STPI is part of its anniversary programme which will include exhibitions, artist collaborations and events. These are organised under the theme ‘Fifteen Years and More to Come’, which looks back at STPI’s achievements in print and paper art practice while looking forward to its continued pursuit for innovation.

STPI’s annual special exhibitions present works in print and paper created by significant figures in art history to local audiences. “David Hockney is one such exemplary figure who produced significant prints, pushing technical boundaries with printer Kenneth Tyler back in the day, and remains exceptional today in his bold experiments with different mediums that include technology” says Tessa Chung, who curated the exhibition. “Naturally, his inventiveness and zeal is something that resonates with the spirit of what we do at STPI, so it’s fitting that we present him this year on the occasion of our 15th anniversary.”

David Hockney, ‘An Image of Celia’, 1984. Image courtesy Richard Schmidt.

Previous annual special exhibitions include ‘Zao Wou-Ki: No Boundaries’ in 2016 of 40 works by the late French-Chinese abstract painter and ‘As We Never Imagined: 50 Years of Art Making’ in 2015, featuring some STPI’s best collaborations with close to 40 notable artists from the region and beyond, including Han Sai Por, Rirkrit Tiravanija and Frank Stella.

The upcoming ‘David Hockney: A Matter of Perspective’ is a look at Hockney’s ongoing exploration of portraying three-dimensional human experiences within two-dimensional mediums, which has led to the creation of unconventional perspectives in his work, including prints.

“The works in the show highlight his point of view: that of the multiple perspective, due to his distrust in the camera’s viewpoint, which is a static vanishing point,” says Chung. “Though that may be the way the world has been conditioned to see, Hockney believed it to be insufficient as truthful representation of time and space. As such, the works in the show were chosen to illustrate the way Hockney portrayed his subjects through this specific lens.”

Highlights from the show, which focuses on Hockney’s work as a printmaker,  include multi-viewpoint prints from the ‘Moving Focus’ series created in the mid-1980s, considered the most ambitious project attempted with Tyler, apart from ‘Paper Pools’ (1978). Chung notes, “It was with the ‘Moving Focus’ works that Hockney and Tyler pushed technical protocols, enabling Hockney to work en plein air, which was unheard of where the development of prints was concerned.”

David Hockney. ‘4 Blue Stools, 2014. Image courtesy Richard Schmidt

There are also prints from the 1990s which will be exhibited in Singapore for the first time. “They may seem removed from his entire body of work, but they do well to show the development of Hockney’s enquiry, for if conventional perspective detached the viewer from the work, these abstract landscapes served to draw the viewer right in,” comments Chung.

One of the more recent works on display is the photographic drawing, ‘4 Blue Stools’ from 2014. A digital collage of photographs that break away from photography’s single-point perspective, it relates to Hockney’s earlier photo-collages made up of multiple photographs and angles and provides a fuller look at Hockney’s long-running experimentation with perspectives.

‘David Hockney: A Matter of Perspective’ is a rare opportunity for viewers in Singapore and Southeast Asia to appreciate Hockney’s captivating works in person, and is a show not to be missed.

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