Hangchow

Hangchow
Signed Print

David Hockney

Photographic print, 1981
Signed Print
H 15cm x W 22cm

Critical Review

Produced in 1981, a year which saw British artist David Hockney travel extensively around China, this signed photographic print references the capital of the Eastern Chinese region of Zhejiang, Hangzhou. Opting for a title which references the city’s romanised spelling, here Hockney uses the camera to capture a moment of stillness and rest. An ashtray is accompanied by two mugs and an ornately decorated bowl, arranged on a side table in between two armchairs, evoking an image of Hockney and his travel companions - Stephen Spender, a writer and poet, and friend, onetime partner and curator, Gregory Evans – in conversation. During the trip, Hockney marked a return to the camera – a medium he has used extensively as both a visual guide for his paintings and as a means to challenge static and unifocal modes of representation, as in his Photo Collages collection– and painted a large number of watercolours. These media, he argued, allowed him to continue making artworks in short breaks in an otherwise busy travel schedule. Images captured and painted during the trip were compiled in the volume China Diary, compiled in 1982. The influence of China on Hockney’s philosophy and artworks has been considerable: to this day, the artist often repeats a Chinese saying which states ‘You need three things for paintings: the hand, the eye, and the heart. Two won’t do’.

More from the collection