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A Bigger Space for Dancing - David Hockney


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A Bigger Space for Dancing – David Hockney dance video

 

Can I recommend the Hockney exhibition on at the Royal Academy? You are overwhelmed by the huge quantity of imaginative, and often humorous, work that Hockney is producing - much of it in 2011. Most of it is of Yorkshire landscapes, with stunning use of light and colour that changes with the seasons. In some video work he has included

 

“A Bigger Space for dancing” which shows multiple camera angles of some light choreography – ballet and tap – produced for him by his friend Wayne Sleep, who also appears at the end of the sequence in a suit. The dancers are

 

Steven McRae and Roberta Marquez of the Royal Ballet and Edward Kitchen, Adam Park, and Ayman Safiah of Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance. Personally I found McRae’s tap dancing the best part of this video work, but it was enjoyable as a whole. The gallery guide only mentions the filming of the Yorkshire scenes, with his adapted jeep fitted with 9 cameras, so you need to be aware of the short dance section that is shown in the same room (possibly room 5, if I remember correctly), and wait to see it!

 

edited for a bigger font - not sure what happened the first time round :unsure:

Edited by amum/Cathy
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Great exhibition ! The man is amazingly talented and accessible ! Possibly one of the greatest artists ever !

 

The dance section is about ten minutes long and it comes at the very end of the film which is maybe a half hour total. I had no idea that it was Steven McRae and Roberta Marquez that I watched about five or six times. Thanks for the info. I loved them. By dividing the screen into nine x 2 slightly differently viewed, but unified, images, he showed dance in a context that gave a completely new way of perceiving it (progression through partly segmented images, speed changes from one 'box' to the next by filming from different angles, etc.) He seems to be able to do this with everything. Even the landscape films danced.

 

I went over to Hatchards (possibly the greatest bookstore in the world!) and bought the more expensive hard cover exhibition catalogue (better quality pictures, usually) and "A Bigger Message -- Conversations with David Hockney ", which I've been reading and looking at (fine pictures included) ever since.

 

I grew up in the part of LA, where he moved for quite awhile, and he gives new, beautiful imagery to my childhood dreamworld, in particular through his landscapes.

 

I was five days in London and I spent two of them at the exhibition. About four hours the second day. Might have gone back again except for my anticipation of weekend crowds. So Sunday I went to the Tate Modern. Kusama room of changing lights at the end of her exhibition, definitely recommended, but a ticket will cost about five pounds.

When I left it was dark and I noticed a remarkable apartment building with huge windows to the west, each apartment being lit up differently inside like beautiful stage sets.

 

David Hockney Exhibition -- Highly Recommended !

Edited by Buddy
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Thank you Cathy and Buddy, I'm going to the David Hockney exhibition in March and will look out for these films, I usually ignore films in art exhibitions, but I'll make sure I see the dance film in particular.

 

I also intend going to the Kusama exhibition at Tate Modern soon, I recently went to the "Charles Dickens and London " show at the Museum of London and can recommend that too.

 

 

 

 

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David Hockney -- The Choreographer

 

I think that you will be fascinated by the exhibition, Beryl. I hope so anyway.

 

I have just finished the 'Conversations' book and it gives a lot of insight into this remarkable artist who seems capable of representing anything.

 

He has approached choreography in many ways. His filming of trees from multiple cameras as he drives slowly along a country lane is the most recent effort. (You will also see that his new huge paintings are constructed in the same manner.) He has also created various activities set to music (stage lighting, drives along the LA hills, etc.)

 

I may be able to write some more about this. In any case, if you look through the book, it is talked about.

 

Someday he may wander over the Royal Ballet ( my idea) and have a chat with Wayne McGregor, resident choreographer. Or maybe....

 

The sky seems to be the limit unless he goes beyond that.

Edited by Buddy
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Buddy I’m sooo pleased someone else on here has been to see this exhibition and can understand my ravings. I too bought the catalogue (although it was for my father who was at Bradford Grammar School with David Hockney), and found the names of the dancers in there. The only one I recognised at the time of watching was McRae. I didn’t even notice Wayne Sleep – my son had to tell me he was there! I hadn’t thought about the speed changes effect that you describe, and I love that you said even the landscape films danced, thank you for those thoughts.

I think I will look out for the Conversations book. The catalogue didn’t talk about the choreography aspect or give information about the dance clips other than the list of dancers, as far as I could see. My father may well be interested in the Conversations book as well. Have you seen the latest biography of Hockney by Christopher Sykes?

 

Beryl I so hope you enjoy it. I remember feeling this pure aesthetic pleasure as I went round the exhibition, with a smile on my face. It is that feeling you get when you are safely in your seat after all the expense and stress of getting to the theatre, your shoulders go down, you breathe out, the overture has played and the curtains open on a performance by the Bolshoi or the Kirov. I don’t know a purer pleasure!

 

Buddy I hope you are right about Hockney wandering over to the RB to talk to Wayne McGregor...

Edited by amum/Cathy
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David Hockney -- 'The Choreographer'

 

Thanks, amum/Cathy, for your post. I haven't read any David Hockney biographies, but look forward to doing so. As for the man speaking for himself, he seems very intelligent and very well informed. He is an intellectual, but he is also 'Very Accessible'. He is a sympathetic person who seems to love life and love what he is doing. His works are so easy to get drawn into, almost childlike in there charm and appeal and yet there is a very highly developed mind at work as well. I would like to know better, if when he creates something, whether it is his highly analytical mind at work (which is certainly evident in his descriptions of what he is doing) or a more spontaneous, childlike approach. Probably both. Also, like George Balanchine, who was also constantly inventing, one of the reasons that he succeeds is, quite honestly, that he is extremely good at it !

 

Perhaps of interest to us here, who love dance, is 'David Hockney -- The Choreographer'. His exhibition has made me think of choreography in a much broader sense. For the moment I think of choreography as any 'Artistic Effort' that involves 'Motion'. Thus I consider his drives filming trees, his extensive work in the 'Dynamics' of Stage Lighting, and his setting picturesque drives through the LA hills to music that he has edited as being choreography.

 

I can see his inventiveness with choreography as being exciting and limitless, as is his other work. Although anything can be the subject of choreography, my main source of pleasure is from human beauty. The beauty of Nature, in general, is equally compelling. When human beauty is accomplished in the most natural way possible, then I'm in 'heaven'. This is why I would love to see David Hockney work with actual dancers as he has just done at the end of the film shown at the exhibition. With his stage lighting he has already had considerable experience working with live performers (operatic singers and the accompanying performers). Maybe this will all lead to something even more exciting.

 

 

Added comment; Thanks, bangorballetboy, for this information. Hopefully something 'exciting!' will come of Wayne McGregor and the young dancers/choreographers' planned visit to the exhibition.

 

(many typo corrections made)

Edited by Buddy
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If David Hockney could somehow put human beings in motion (i.e. choreograph them) with the same naturalness and natural grace that he has shown in his 'choreographing' of trees, it might be very similar to the essence of flowing, lyrical beauty that makes ballet so compelling.



 

I guess that representing nature is done, at least as a training exercise, in modern dance ("move like a wave, be a wave"), but I've never seen a performance of this sort. It seems fairly common in Chinese 'classical' dance.



 

Lar Lubovitch is very interesting in that he has dancers chain reacting to each other, somewhat like leaves rippling along as a breeze passes through. Diana Vishneva has done a beautiful few seconds of expressing the motion of leaves in the introduction to her "Firebird" dvd. An alternative to depicting Nature, might be to have dancers responding to Nature or just being a part of it. 



 

Then, with David Hockney's limitless ways of seeing and depicting, anything could happen, but that's another story.



 

In tacking on about ten minutes of dance to his exhibition film, an exhibition that is almost exclusively devoted to depicting the Beauty in Nature, he may already have something like this in mind.

Edited by Buddy
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I've really enjoyed your thoughts above Buddy. It will be interesting to see what direction Hockney goes next. He looks to be so full of enthusiasm and energy, thank goodness.

 

I read one commentator's thoughts on the exhibition in which he was quite scathing about the dance film section at the end and, by association, Hockney's previous forays into the performing arts. Wish I could remember where I read it...

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Thanks so much, amum/Cathy, for starting this topic and for your continued interest and thoughts. My only response is that I truly enjoyed the film, both for its highly inventive, outstanding artistry and for its subject matter. There are four color pictures of opera sets that David Hockney designed in the 'conversations' book and they look quite Wonderful to me. When he talks about lighting these sets and responding to the performance requirements, he seems very sensitively attuned and knowledgeable.

 

I also wanted to add that what I suggested in the post before might be interesting to someone like Wayne McGregor as well, who seems very interested in exploring and expressing basic physicality.

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Pablo Picasso is greatly admired by David Hockney, perhaps his favorite artist. In 1901 Pablo Picasso painted "Child Holding A Dove", which I believe can be seen at the National Gallery, London.

 

http://www.globalgal...600/sw-1093.jpg

 

For the moment I see David Hockney as somehow embracing this beautiful picture and then moving on with it to explore the world as did Pablo Picasso and many of the other great masters of art. As he explores and describes the world as a genius like Picasso, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Michelangelo....I feel that he still takes this child with him and this is one of the things that makes him so special.

Edited by Buddy
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  • 2 weeks later...

I saw the exhibition last week and it was worth waiting for, the scale and colour of these huge paintings take the breath away and make everyone smile, I've bought the catalogue which unfortunately can't do justice to the big works but shows the smaller paintings very well.

 

The dance film was on when I arrived so I sat through it, saw the Yorkshire film, then the dance film again, this was on a huge state-of-the-art screen made up of 18 sections, the size of everything was amazing, worth seeing and you get a chance to sit down! It seemed normal actually to be watching ballet dancers at the Royal Academy.

 

The only real drawback was the crowds, I did keep bumping into people, but this was one of the best exhibitons for a long time, I would recommend anyone thinking about it to go, although I had booked a ticket I think I could have got in for 3pm, the queue wasn't too long.

 

 

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