The Ashtray, Sunday Morning, Tokyo

The Ashtray, Sunday Morning, Tokyo
Signed Print

David Hockney

Photographic print, 1983
Signed Print Edition of 20
H 143cm x W 136cm

Critical Review

The Ashtray, Sunday Morning, Tokyo is a signed print by British artist David Hockney. Depicting a Tokyo street from many different angles, it engages directly with the interplay between the urban environment and nature, much like another print in the Photo Collages collection, Graffiti Palace, New York (1982), which chooses a rotunda in New York’s Central Park as its subject matter. Taken during one of Hockney’s trips to Japan, a country he has been visiting since 1971 – a year marred by his breakup with American artist Peter Schlesinger – the piece’s multiple perspectives marry the urban and the natural world. In this piece, one of the many focal points of Hockney’s camera-as-eye is a tree jutting out of the pavement; surrounded by power cables and bold signage rendered in Japanese ‘Kanji’ script, the tree serves as a visual link to another of Hockney’s photo collages which portrays the Merced River, Yosemite Valley (1983). Movement is not absent from this piece, however, with Hockney tracing a figure’s movement as they walk across the street. Committing each moment of this miniature ‘event’ to the composition, Hockney references his own photographic philosophy and advocation of a new form of image-making which would better reflect the human experience.

More from the collection