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An Immersive Dive into David Hockney’s Mind at Lightroom, London
"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust
Last week, I had the pleasure of experiencing just that at the "David Hockney: Bigger & Closer (not smaller & further away)" exhibition in Lightroom, London. With its extension until January, it’s clear this exhibition is a roaring success.
A visual symphony of motion graphics, it’s a digital plunge curated by the maestro, David Hockney himself. This makes it particularly compelling because you're entering the artist's mind, guided by him. When we consider immersive adaptations of works by deceased artists like Dali or Van Gogh, they often remain interpretations, shadows of their creators’ visions. Here, with Hockney at the helm, it’s a direct dive into the artist's neural pathways, witnessing firsthand how he envisions his art.
The vast screens draw you into a world of thoughts and colors. Technology has indeed come a long way with sharp projectors painting every detail. However, as a critic, I must say that more modern technologies like LED screens could have elevated this experience. The visible projectors and truss disrupted the magic momentarily, especially when you found visitors laying on the carpeted floor, gazing at an empty ceiling, yearning for more immersion.
The exhibition, while quite a dent to the wallet, manages visitor numbers with its booking system. A Saturday evening saw just 20 of us in the vast room, allowing the art to breathe and engulf us without feeling like sardines packed in a tin. I can only imagine that a crowded room might dilute this intimacy.
Seating, or the lack of comfortable ones, was a minor hiccup. Benches and floor seating might appeal to some, but after twenty minutes, my back yearned for more support. I found solace in the balcony, choosing to stand and absorb the art from there.
As an advocate for accessibility in design, I noticed the caption placements were unusually high. While they were present, integrating them seamlessly within the motion graphics could have been a more inclusive approach. After my research into how to apply the Social Model of Disability to digital experiences, I firmly believe that accessibility should not be a mere afterthought or a band-aid solution applied in post-production. Rather, it should be a fundamental design element, integrated from the initial decision-making phase.
In conclusion, "David Hockney: Bigger & Closer" was an artful feast. It’s an evocative, immersive way to understand and appreciate contemporary artists like David Hockney. Minor critiques aside, this is a sensory experience I'd recommend to every art enthusiast out there.