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Merced River, Yosemite Valley

Merced River, Yosemite Valley
Signed Print

David Hockney

Photographic print, 1982
Signed Print Edition of 20
H 131cm x W 153cm

Critical Review

In Merced River, Yosemite Valley (1983), a key part of British artist David Hockney’s Photo Collages collection of works, the tyranny of the camera’s monocular vision is challenged once again. Here, Hockney turns his attention to the natural world, inscribing his literal and figurative footprint into the landscape of the Yosemite Valley, California. Making sure to include boxes, now empty of the photographic film they once contained, within the overall composition of the piece – they are piled onto the ground at the bottom left of the image – Hockney makes a direct, reflexive nod to the photographic format he is both using and distorting. Portraying a key landmark in the US state of California, his home for over 30 years, Hockney commits lived experience, as opposed to static, ‘lifeless’ imagery, to the card upon which he mounts these many individual photographs. Much like his other photographic works, such as Luncheon At The British Embassy, Tokyo, February 16th 1983 (1983), or Gregory Reading In Kyoto (1983), here a multi-perspectival approach to photography triumphs over its quite literally ‘short-sighted’ counterpart. Taking many small snapshots, each conveying minute details visible only to the eye, Hockney commits the transience of human experience to a fluid and multi-valent artistic form.

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