David Hockney: The Arrival of Spring, Normandy, 2020 ★★★ Royal Academy of Arts | Until September 26, 2021


David Hockney's new exhibition at the Royal Academy, The Arrival of Spring, Normandy, 2020, has a familiar feel to it as Hockney began showing works 'painted' with his iPad back in 2012. Never afraid to use bright colours, this vast display of almost 120 works blasts us with a barrage of vivid greens as we see him play in his garden with his iPad during the spring of 2020. Does this conjure up Monet in his old age at Giverny? Well, there is a lily pond. These works were created on a normal sized iPad and here are blown up to about 1.5m; this enlarging shows every dot and dash in detail, almost suggesting a pointillist influence. Sadly, it doesn't flatter the works as the faux naïf style seems to have no depth. That is not to say that the exhibition is not enjoyable. There is much to like here, and a whole wall of a dozen pictures depicting the same trees, from the same viewpoint, at different times of day is fascinating. The sheer volume of work is extraordinary, the listing shows that Hockney was producing up to four pictures a day. Of course, at this rate, not all can be masterpieces and few have the feeling of the work of a great artist. Still, it is wonderful to see the Royal Academy open again and with an exhibition which is bound to draw the crowds.

Reviewed by D.S.J.
Image: David Hockney, No. 259, 24th April 2020. iPad painting. © David Hockney.

Rated: ★★★

When, Where, Getting there:
  • Until September 26, 2021
  • Tue - Sun: 10 am - 6 pm (last admission 5.30pm)
  • Royal Academy of Arts
  • Main Galleries: Galleries 2, 3, Central Hall and Lecture Room (May 23 – Aug 1)
  • The Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Galleries (Aug 11 – Sep 26)
  • Nearest tube: Green Park
  • https://www.royalacademy.org.uk

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