David Hockney’s iPad paintings at Sakıp Sabancı Museum
David Hockney, one of the most inspiring artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, made the paintings on his iPad at his home in Normandy, during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The iPad paintings in “The Arrival of Spring, Normandy, 2020” depict a landscape filled with fruit trees, bushes, flower beds, ponds and rivers, fields and distant hills, capturing the annual cycle of spring from bare trees to buds, flowers and abundant green foliage. The exhibition is a celebration of spring, reminding us of the miracles of the natural world and its constant renewal.
At a press conference on May 9, Sakıp Sabancı Museum Director Nazan Ölçer said, “Works by one of the most significant artists of our time, Hockney, have come to Turkey for the first time, on the 20th anniversary of the Sakıp Sabancı Museum.”
“Throughout the long history of humanity’s surrender to the frightening power of nature, spring has always been the symbol of rebirth, of emerging from darkness. With spring, the darkness is now illuminated, living beings are awakened from their long slumber; the mother earth, the origin of all life, spreads seeds of fertility; and this cycle continues forever. With his lifetime of wisdom and utilizing 21st-century technology, Hockney has faithfully recorded each moment of nature’s reawakening through the season and invites us to witness a spring ritual in ‘The Arrival of Spring, Normandy, 2020.’ The exhibition is, in essence, the story of a season from beginning to end, acting almost as a blessing. With this show, David Hockney reminds us of the miracles of nature, the constant and irrepressible renewal of the cycle of life, and of his often-repeated theme: ‘Love life’. I hope that this exhibition, celebrating the rebirth of nature and spring, will be a source of hope and joy for all of us, after an immensely difficult two-year period of global lockdowns in which we were all disconnected from the real world,” he added.
Edith Devaney, the curator of “The Arrival of Spring, Normandy, 2020” exhibitions, thanked Ölçer and her team for making Sakıp Sabancı Museum the third museum venue to host the exhibition, which was on display at the Royal Academy of Arts last year and then at Bozar in Brussels.
Hockney is regarded by critics and historians as a crucial artist of the 20th and 21st centuries. The mass fascination with Hockney makes him a phenomenon in the art world. He has always followed his own artistic interests and many curiosities. While doing this, he did not care for trends and turned to his past and to his deep knowledge and interest in art history, which is often expressed in his artworks. He believed that his use of technology was about discovering new ways of painting, although his interest in technology was sometimes misinterpreted. In an interview, he said that Van Gogh and Monet would love iPad for the same reasons he did.
In his own words, Hockney is an artist who has depicted “the arrival of spring” before. In 2011, he produced works using the iPad for the first time in Yorkshire, and these were displayed in the “A Bigger Picture” exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts. This was Hockney’s first work produced using this new tool.
In 2013, he took up the same subject, this time, depicting spring in a series of charcoal-on-paper works in Yorkshire. In 2020, he decided to capture the spring in Normandy, but this time, the pandemic began. With the idea of drawing colors more freely and working in layers, he chose the iPad once again.
Hockney knew that the speed with which to see a scene, a subject and capture its salient and fleeting aspects is fast on the iPad. Besides, there was no need for canvas preparation or mixing the paint and then waiting for it to dry. He produced 116 images in a period of four months. The sheer beauty of the paintings in Monet’s garden in nearby Giverny was a source of inspiration for Hockney during his time in Normandy. “The Arrival of Spring, Normandy, 2020” gives the viewer a strong sense of the unfolding of time.
“The Arrival of Spring, Normandy, 2020” will be on view through July 29.