David Hockney brings a personal touch to the new immersive experience based on his work in London


The boom in immersive art exhibitions has seen some of the world’s most beloved masterpieces reimagined on a grand scale and presented to audiences around the world. So far, the focus has been on historical works, with artists such as Vincent Van Gogh, Gustav Klimt and Frida Kahlo among the most popular subjects.

David Hockney could now be one of the first living artists to get the same treatment for a new show, ‘Bigger & Closer (No Smaller & Further)’ which opens early next year in London.

Installing David Hockney Gregory Swimming Los Angeles March 31, 1982 at ‘David Hockney: Bigger & Closer’, an immersive art experience at Lightroom in King’s Cross, London. Photo: Courtesy of Lightroom, ©
David Hockney.

Hockney has taken the reins and led this immersive new journey, inviting visitors into some of his most renowned paintings, from the swimming pools he painted during his years in California to the vast canyons he captured in the American West. .

Photographs and Polaroid collages will also be used to tell visitors about the artist’s life, transporting the public between Yorkshire, where Hockney is from, Los Angeles, where he settled in the 1960s, and Normandy in the south of France, where he now lives.

These ideas and more will span six thematic chapters, which come with commentary by Hockney and a custom score by American composer Nico Muhly.

Installation of The arrival of spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty
(1998) at ‘David Hockney: Bigger & Closer’, an immersive art experience at Lightroom in King’s Cross, London. Photo: Courtesy of Lightroom; © David Hockney.

“The world is very, very beautiful if you look at it, but most people don’t look at it much,” Hockney thinks in a voiceover. “They scan the ground in front of them so they can walk, they don’t really look at things incredibly well, with an intensity. I do.”

Three years in the making, this mega-production won’t be the first time Hockney has kept an eye on technology trends and adapted his painting practice to new media. He started using drawing software in the 1980s and since 2009 has regularly exhibited portraits, landscapes and still lifes made on an iPad.

David Hockney looking at the model box containing an immersive view of his work August 2021, Landscape with shadows. Photo: Mark Grimmer, © David Hockney.

The show will open in Lightroom, a new four-storey exhibition space for immersive experiences in the creative district of Kings Cross, curated by the London Theater Company and 59 Productions. “David Hockney: Bigger & Closer (No Smaller & Further)” runs from January 25 to April 23, 2023 and tickets are on sale now at £25 ($30) for adults and £15 ($18) for adults. students.

London is also home to Frameless, another venue for experiential art forms which opened at Marble Arch in September. The arrival of Lightroom suggests that the immersive art craze shows no signs of waning, after major investment in this fast-growing sector.

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