№556. 2 ноября

Я когда на три дня переехала в отель, по помимо красок и холстов взяла с собой книжку про Дэвида Хокни, которую прочитала на одном дыхании. Как обычно, всю её исподчёркивала, и, тоже как обычно, оставлю здесь несколько цитат.

It was in a state of confusion and I felt I had to get away from London. The period was very disturbing for me… There was something wrong in what I was doing and I had to find out what it was and I needed peace and quiet. It was always hard to get peace and quiet in London. There were always people asking, would you do this, would you talk on that, would you do a television program, would you do the other? I am probably too amiable person to say no. My way of getting out of it was to go off to Paris.

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Then it led me to believe that we’re always looking with our memory… I came to the conclusion that there is no such thing as objective vision. There can never be, because even the memory of the first instant of looking is then part of the perception, and it adds up and it adds up. It brought me closer to the way we actually experience the activity of seeing, and it actually led me back to drawing and painting, with a whole new sense of the possibilities to be found there.

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Even though people think my work is very popular, it often takes them time to see what I am really doing, to see what it is I am exploring, that it is not just a wild thing, but something that grows out of something else, and will grow into something else again.

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I am having fun. If any artist tells you he is not having fun in his studio, there is something wrong with him. He has to, even if his work is pessimistic. Art has to have some hope because it believes it can get a message across.

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Trip Gabriel in the New York Times sees a dark edge to the new paintings and asks whether a decade of AIDS has made his work more gloomy: «Mr. Hockney answered elliptically, by telling the story of his visit to the big Matisse retrospective that ended on Tuesday at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. ‘I spent about five hours in there. It was one of the highest and deepest pleasures I’ve had. But I remember there was a painting of a little still life, just a pot of flowers and a bust on a table, and it’s painted in 1942. You look at the date and you think, in Europe they were just ripping themselves apart. It’s ghastly’. He paused to gather his thoughts. ‘I’m glad he painted it. I am very glad somebody sat down and did something like that«.

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Beyond the dogs themselves, the true subject of these pictures is affection. For the first time I wanted to paint in what you might call a ‘perceptive’ way, putting on canvas what I saw. It was not so much their movements, but their deep natural nature. Somehow I really feel that their wisdom is perhaps greater than ours. Of course, the dogs don’t know, aren’t interested in what I am actually doing. Dogs don’t care. And sometimes they pee on the canvases.

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In autumn, Hockney visits a Monet retrospective at the Art Institute of Chicago, which hugely inspires him: «You don’t need an art critic to tell you Monet was a great artist. You can see it yourself; you absolutely can. I came out of that exhibition and it made me look everywhere, everywhere intensely. That little shadow on Michigan Avenue, the light hitting the leaf. I thought: ‘My god, now I’ve seen that. He’s made me see that’. Most people don’t see things like that. They can’t get pleasure like that, can they? Monet gives it to you though, for he was a generous spirit, and you can then take pleasure in looking at things freshly…».

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Perhaps today to make big statement with paintings, you have to paint them big.

2 ноября 2021

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