A signed print by much-loved British artist, David Hockney, Wuxi 40-12 is one of a number of photographic images captured by the artist during a trip to China in 1981. Produced in the same year, it belongs to the Photographs collection and portrays a bird-eye-view of a concrete square in the eastern Chinese city of Wuxi.
A signed print by internationally venerated and much-liked British artist David Hockney, Wuxi 40-12 stands alongside other prints in the artist’s Photographs collection, namely Wuxi 35-9, Wuxi 45-7, Wuxi 40-12, and Sian 15-23. Much like these prints - all of which are photographic images - it is product of a tour of China Hockney made with the writer and poet, Stephen Spender, and his onetime partner and curator, Gregory Evans, in May of 1982. At the prompting of poet, editor and world-famous art historian Nikos Stangos, images of the tour were published in book form as China Diary, a volume compiled in 1982 and co-authored by Spender. In this print, we see two figures; one walks and another cycles. Parallel to one another, the lines drawn by their dynamic trajectories are mirrored in the gaps between large slabs of concrete, which form the base of what is presumably a public square. Flashes of green puncture the homogenous concrete surface, engendering a stark contrast with the cold, grey surface of the paving and recalling the graphic nature of other photographs in the series, namely Sian 21-13A. Like this image, this print also features organic and man-made forms arranged side-by-side, much like the 1977 lithograph, The Prisoner For Amnesty International, part of the Hockney And Nature series.