This 1983 print by British artist David Hockney, entitled Walking In The Zen Garden At The Ryoanji Temple is perhaps the high-point of the artist's many photo collage works, produced in their majority at the beginning of the 1980s. With around 130 individual photographs, Hockney depicts a traditional Japanese garden. This print belongs to the Photo Collages collection.
Moving from London to California in 1964, British artist David Hockney was introduced to the Polaroid camera. A new medium which allowed him to bypass lengthy photographic processing times, Hockney’s small-scale experiments with Polaroid eventually looked to other cameras and their respective formats, such as 35mm and 110 compact films. By 1983, Hockney had perfected his photographic process; this print from the same year, entitled Walking In The Zen Garden At The Ryoanji Temple, is part of the Photo Collages collection and is often considered the high-point of the artist’s playful photographic experiments. Comprising around 130 individual photographs, it depicts a traditional Japanese garden in northwestern Kyoto, and makes an extended use of the artist’s well-known, multi-perspectival photomontage process. An example of Hockney’s ‘joiner’ artworks, each photograph offers another alternate layer of perspective, carrying with it a unique level of detail lost from the myopic, short-sighted camera lens. As in another photo collage piece entitled Luncheon At The British Embassy, Tokyo, February 16th 1983 (1983), the camera takes the place of Hockney’s body, and that of his eye in particular: looking with intent at every one of the garden’s minute details, this piece is testament to Hockney’s belief in what he calls ‘the beauty of seeing’. As is common in many artworks which feature in the Photo Collages series, Hockney’s feet appear at the bottom of the composition.