David Hockney at the Royal Academy of Arts
M/A/D | Music/Art/Design
David Hockney is enjoying a late-period flowering that is a wonder to behold. He’s working with such facility on a large scale that it’s as though he has overcome his advancing years, and he’s working with such freedom that his nourishment in having returned home to the landscapes of Yorkshire somehow enables us all. There have been several excellent David Hockney documentaries over the years, but the riches of his recent outpouring and the finesse of director Phil Grabsky’s attention make this a must-see.
The film focuses on two blockbuster exhibitions of Hockney recent work at The Royal Academy of Arts: A Bigger Picture 2012 and 82 Portraits and One Still Life 2016. VIFF favourite Grabsky (In Search of Beethoven, etc.) allows us the time to inhabit the stage that the halls of the Royal Academy provide and to truly relish the paintings. Grabsky has also obviously put Hockney at ease, allowing the privileged intimacy of the conversation to flow naturally and go deep. Here we don’t just look at portraits: we hear the lifetime’s worth of stories behind them. Another blessing of this film: with the Tate Britain’s Hockney retrospective just having become that massive gallery’s most popular exhibition ever, here we can transcend the crowds!