It is rarely possible to see David Hockney’s works in Italy, and it is even more rare to have the opportunity to meet him. It was therefore with great pleasure that the IV edition of the Florence Biennale hosted the UK artist during a conference on the importance of optical instruments for Renaissance artists. During his visit to the exhibits and his encounter with artists and visitors, he was presented with the Award “Lorenzo il Magnifico” for Lifetime Achievement by Pasquale Celona, the president of the Biennale.
Born in Bradford (UK) in 1937, David Hockney is a painter, a graphic artist, a photographer, and a designer. He became internationally famous at the age of 25. Since then he has remained the most renowned British artist of his generation.
Ever since the early Sixties, due to the artistic atmosphere in London and the success he received as a participant in important collective exhibits (especially the Young Contemporaries exhibit of 1961), he has been regarded as one of the protagonists of British Pop Art, even though the artist has refused this label numerous times.
In his early works he made very effective use of magazine images and Pop Art icons. After making frequent trips to New York, trips he viewed as those of a provincial to a free and dazzling world, and Los Angeles, he moved to the United States.
This country’s grand everyday life served as inspiration for many of his projects, as indicated by the recurring theme of California pools (A Bigger Splash, Tate, 1967). Originally trained as a painter, Hockney was already a renowned artist when he suddenly decided to switch to photography in 1981, exhibiting new works that he had made with Polaroid photographs.
Ever since then he has produced art with several mediums: painting, design, photography,etchings, always going beyond the limits of each one.
In 1986 he began to explore new creative paths in printing by working with both colour and black and white photocopies. In 1988 a major retrospective of his work was hosted in Los Angels, New York, and London. In the 1990s he produced several etchings and lithographs in collaboration with the printmaker Ken Tyler.
In 1997 he was made a Companion of Honour by HRM Queen Elizabeth II. His many years of research into optics and perspective lead to the publication, in 2001, of his book Secret Knowledge, which became an international bestseller.
In 2012 London’s Royal Academy of Art dedicated a major exhibit to his landscapes: more than 150 works were exhibited, 51 of which had been made in an iPad and were accompanied by videos projected onto a wall made up of 18 aligned screens.