David Hockney Current
NGV, 11 nov – 13 Mar
My first reaction was anger. The first room of the David Hockney exhibition at the NGV is filled with iphone and ipad drawings. Each wall covered. A hit of colour. As I looked closer I couldn’t help thinking that if I had done any of these, they would have been considered novice attempts. Although I probably would have placed them in a folder within a folder on my hard drive, never to be opened again, assuming they’re not good enough.
This question on ‘what is good’ is a constant battle I have with myself and with
contemporary art. But as I continued through the exhibition I realised that this is not a question that should enter this space. It’s not about finding perfection, but the act of creation. And there was so much joy to be had in the creation of all of these works.
There were still things I didn’t like. That’s okay. There were others that re-imagined our world into one of colour and joy.
There was playfulness in ‘The Chairs’ room.
Character in all the portraits.
Hockey describes his ‘82 portraits & 1 still life’ as a complete work and went further to say that he see’s his whole career as one work. I can see that. Each piece is focused on the present, but with it comes a lifetime of experience.
The aspect of creation is further developed with screen recordings of Hockney’s ipad drawing. We can see each stroke, each decision. As I sat watching the complete creation of a work, with juggling music echoing from further along the exhibition, I felt the absorption and joy of the artist.
I left with one impression deeply implanted: Shut up and paint.