Dancing Flowers (1986) is a signed print on Arches rag paper demonstrating David Hockney's fascination with the technology of photocopying. Overflowing with exuberant shapes, playful petal forms, and robust, curved lines, the print captures the creative evolution of Hockney’s style as he experiments with fragments of cutout paper and places them in unexpected spatial relationships. What interests the artist here is not the realism of representation present in his other flower paintings but bringing the commonplace subject matter closer to abstraction. The print shares a strong visual affinity with Henri Matisse’s Snow Flowers (1951), also composed from paper cutouts. As in the case of Matisse, the flowers here are abstracted to an extent that they exhibit a unique, imaginary undertone.
The work was executed on an office copy machine and belongs to Home Made Prints, a series of thematically diverse works, such as Celia With Chair (1986), Man Reading Stendhal (1986) or Grey Blossoms (1986) similar in style to Dancing Flowers. The artist has said in the context of photocopying that inspired Home Made Prints: “In fact, this is the closest I’ve ever come in printing to what it’s like to paint: I can put something down, evaluate it, alter it, revise it, all in a matter of seconds.”