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"Something extraordinary has happened. David appears to have found space in a singular, two-dimensional image where everyone else has stopped looking. Of the studio - and born out of the studio - these new works break painting and photography free from the blind alley of historical discourse and behavior where they have been content to reside since Brunelleschi." - Tacita Dean

Documenting the installation of David Hockney’s monumental photographic drawing, Pictures at an Exhibition, 2018-2021, celebrated video artist Tacita Dean recites the edifying essay she published on Hockney's digital process, a text which was written for GRAY’s 2018 volume, David Hockney: Time and More, Space and More. In her dictation, Dean peers insightfully into Hockney's studio, expounding on the artist's innovative use of lenses as a means to explore space and perspective in painting. "[David] set about finding a way to bring time into photography and began taking multiple Polaroids, then photographs, of a given subject and placing them side by side across the picture plane. Each photograph, made in its own time, then contextualizes time in the company of the next one: a progression of taking, adjusting, and taking. It was the closest photography could get to his painting.”

Hockney's Pictures at an Exhibition was constructed in life-size scale for the first time on the occasion of Art Basel in 2021. Referencing the seated figures and empty chairs depicted in the photograph, a series of identical chairs placed in the foreground of the installation encouraged fair goers to see themselves as part of the work's composition and reconsider the ways time and space operate in painting. Beyond the technological achievement of its scale and construction, Pictures at an Exhibition is a meditation on the act of viewing art and the passage of time. Defying conventional pictorial space and narrative, Hockney's immersive composition depicts three-dimensional space and time within a two-dimensional plane.


All artwork © David Hockney.
Footage of David Hockney, Pictures at an Exhibition, 2018-2021, taken at Art Basel in Basel, Switzerland.
Footage of David Hockney: Time and More, Space and More..., 2018, at GRAY Chicago, produced by Frieze Studios.
Edited by Rebecca Daniel Mottley and Daphne Cebek.