BIGGER & CLOSER (not smaller & further away)
David Hockney, UK/USA
The Lightbox, London (UK)

David Hockney is not only one of the most popular and renowned living artists, but also a great innovator, always experimenting with (often inventing?!) new languages and embracing new forms of art-making.
In this immersive exhibition, produced by the studio 59 Productions took place at The Lightroom at King’s Cross in London, David Hockney speaks about different aspects of his work, spanning from theatrical design to his painting, from drawing to photography, in a journey through 60 years of his work, from Los Angeles to Yorkshire and up to the present day.

I found BIGGER & CLOSER a great source of inspiration for the following reasons:

  1. Hockney once again makes use of new digital tools, innovating his art once again. The exhibition uses animations painted with the iPad, elevating the “timelapse export tool” as a form of storytelling;
  2. Hockney actively participated to the concept, creation and craft of the immersive show.

Compared to other immersive art extravaganza such as the very popular Van Gogh, Klimt and Giotto experiences; this is the first immersive exhibition featuring a living artist I had the opportunity to visit (and as far I know this is one of its kind).
I found it engaging, immersive and informative compared to other shows, it is not just a nice juxtaposition of shapes and colors in the style of that artist. The involvement of the artist in the process add meanings and quality to the experience.

59 Productions’ Team made a scale model of the Lightroom venue for Hockney so that he could watch at home and give feedback as the show came together. Credit Mark Grimmer

Regarding the technical aspects, the panoramic projection is mainly on 3 sides of the room, the fourth wall is used occasionally. The animations moving across the walls unfolds the stories told in voice over by the artist himself in a very engaging way. The extra-projection on the floor helps the feeling of immersion and embodiment of the audience. The experience is fully enjoyable both from the steps on the bottom corners of the room and the poufs scattered in the room.