Solo show by British artist David Hockney challenges perspectives

David Hockney's 4 Blue Stools (2014) will be on show at A Matter Of Perspective, an exhibition at STPI Gallery.
David Hockney's 4 Blue Stools (2014) will be on show at A Matter Of Perspective, an exhibition at STPI Gallery.PHOTO: RICHARD SCHMIDT

Solo show on British artist David Hockney shows how the human eye can perceive things in a fluid and dynamic way

A solo show of works by celebrated British artist David Hockney will open on July 1 at STPI Gallery.

Titled David Hockney: A Matter Of Perspective, the exhibition will feature 36 prints, drawn mostly from the Singapore Art Museum's collection. It runs until Sept 9 and admission is free.

Turning 80 next month, Hockney is often credited as being one of the most influential 20th-century British artists. He is known for his vibrant paintings of Los Angeles swimming pools and penchant for embracing technology throughout his six decades of work.

STPI Gallery, located in Robertson Quay, is known for championing art practices based on print and paper.

This show is part of its annual special exhibition series, organised primarily to educate audiences, as opposed to its commercial shows.

The show's curator Tessa Chung says Hockney has "remained outside the art historical narrative, but is easily Britain's most celebrated painter today".

  • VIEW IT / DAVID HOCKNEY: A MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE

  • WHERE: STPI Gallery, 41 Robertson Quay

    WHEN: July 1 to Sept 9, 10am to 7pm (weekdays), 9am to 6pm (Saturdays), closed on Sundays and public holidays

    ADMISSION: Free

    INFO: www.stpi.com.sg

"With major institutional retrospectives this year, we saw it worthwhile to showcase his works from the Singapore Art Museum collection as part of that wider dialogue and offer the perspective of him as a printmaker," she adds.

A recent retrospective of his work at Tate Britain was its most visited show, with the museum opening till midnight during its closing weekend to deal with the overwhelming demand.

Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York will also open shows on the artist later this year.

This is the second time STPI Gallery is organising a Hockney show. Its first was in 2011 and some works in this show are the same.

However, this exhibition focuses on his unique approach to the idea of perspective in painting.

For example, new to this show is a 2014 work, 4 Blue Stools, which depicts a scene taken from multiple angles and comprising multiple shots, challenging expectations of what a photograph should be.

"This show pays further attention to how one represents what he or she sees, which is quite relevant in today's age, where the camera and its single perspective condition us to see our world in a static, narrow way," says Ms Chung.

In contrast, Hockney believes the human eye can perceive things in a "more fluid and dynamic" way.

Ms Chung says his works continue to resonate, even for a repeat viewer.

The artist, who is still active, is known for experimenting with technologies and styles, including painting on the iPad.

"Hockney's works go against the grain and are always evolving, so they remain fresh. It's hard to grow tired of works by an artist who has worked in all media and styles," she says.

His works in the national collection are part of a collection of prints by American master printer Kenneth Tyler, who founded the Singapore Tyler Print Institute in 2002. It is now known as STPI.

Hockney used to work with Tyler in his print workshops in the United States. The artist once used a fax machine to produce prints, "a discovery that came to him only because of his printmaking stint with Tyler", says Ms Chung.

The exhibition is doubly special as it coincides with the gallery's 15th anniversary this year.

Its director Emi Eu says she "can't believe 15 years have already passed".

"We could not have done it without the support of the public.

"STPI is just beginning - and we will work harder to make a Singapore imprint on the international map, while continuing to contribute in enriching lives in Singapore and South-east Asia."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 20, 2017, with the headline 'New look at perspectives'. Print Edition | Subscribe