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John St Clair Swimming

John St Clair Swimming
Signed Print

David Hockney

Digital Print, 1972
Signed Print Edition of 80
H 20cm x W 27cm

Critical Review

This signed photographic print, by British artist David Hockney, is entitled John St Clair Swimming. Produced in 1972, it was issued in a limited edition of 80s. John St Clair Swimming is one of two photographs which directly inspired the world-famous painting, Portrait Of An Artist (Pool With Two Figures), which many hail as a symbolic representation of the artist’s breakup with his onetime partner and artist Peter Schlesinger. One day Hockney noticed this photograph lying alongside another of a figure with a downcast gaze and decided to arrange the photographs together in order to form a new composition, in a way which recalls his many Photo Collages. As the photograph Christopher Isherwood And Don Bachardy (Study) demonstrates, Hockney would often use photographs as a means of capturing specific moments which he would later paint. Whilst Hockney has described  photography as a carrier of great artistic and representational potential, he has often criticised it for being too unifocal and for being unable to adequately represent time. This print in particular bears testament to the time-based medium of photography: the ripples of the swimming pool appear still, the refracted light etching great detail into its otherwise dynamic surface. Underneath the water, one of Hockney’s friends lays in a crucifix-like pose with his arms outstretched.

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