This signed print, entitled Gregory Watching The Snow Fall, Kyoto, Feb 21st 1983, is part of a limited edition of 20 and belongs to the Photo Collages collection of works by David Hockney. In it, Hockney returns to the traditional Japanese ‘Minka’ home first depicted in Gregory Reading In Kyoto (1983).
The creator of this print, British artist David Hockney, once remarked that ‘depiction goes on whether painting does it or not’. As such, here we see Hockney move away from painting and towards the representational potential of the camera and the photograph. Unsatisfied with the limitations of a singular image – the enforcer of a Renaissance-era perspective, where one is always what art historian Marco Livingstone dubs a ‘static’ viewer – Hockney works to incorporate multiple images into a single composition. Much like the rest of the artworks in the Photo Collages series, produced mostly at the beginning of the 1980s, this print experiments with different ways of seeing and different perspectives. Returning to the traditional Japanese ‘Minka’ home first depicted in Gregory Reading In Kyoto (1983), we watch Hockney watching Gregory, laying in bed, himself watching the snowfall outside. Allowing for a fluidity which matches that of the human eye, Hockney’s complex, baroque arrangement of these many individual photographs upend the fixed-point perspective of the observer in Western art. The ideas present in this work were committed to a public lecture at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, entitled ‘On Photography’, perhaps in a reference to the eponymous book by American cultural theorist Susan Sontag (1977). In this lecture, Hockney advocated for a new form of image-making which would better reflect the human experience.