Visualising Hockney through Mies

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Visualising Hockney through Mies 

Lujac Desautel


In the following image series, I was interested in using David Hockney and Mies Van Der Rohe as the main subjects.

I combined the two using Hockney’s painting through Mies’s techniques of overlapping, framing, and composition as if Hockney seamlessly reproduces a Mies-like attitude to space while retaining the atmospheric mood of the California lifestyle suggesting that these images or any image can be appropriated and misappropriated for our owns.

David Hockney moved to California in the late 1960’s where he painted a series of pictures that arguably defined the California Aesthetic. One of his most iconic paintings, A Bigger Splash, is flat, colorful, and abstract

Mies Van Der Rohe created a set of collages for the Barcelona Pavilion. The collage comprised of pencil on paper defining the edge of the roof, floor and mullions. Images of paintings, marble, wood are collaged on top of one another that create depth and space.

A notable distinction between the two artists is that Hockney uses photographs for the subject of his paintings. Mies Van Der Rohe represents architecture that will be built through an improvised composition. Secondly, the California architectural style Hockney was painting at the time has similar qualities to the International style of Mies.


What lead to the selection of a project based upon Hockney and Mies’s work?

It wasn’t a choice to go out and find two artist that I thought looked pretty or interesting to talk about. My taste in Mies’s work and Hockney’s Art has always been there and I just wanted to see what would happen if I brought the two together.

Define the phrase improvised composition for yourself?

It’s about trying to get as close as possible to a seemingly unattainable image I have in my head.

To what extent can Mies’s improvised composition be viewed as similar to the art of collage interpreted by Hockney?

It is important to note that Mies makes modern architecture where as Hockney makes pictures of modern architecture. I find it interesting to appropriate or Mis-appropriate the two through cross-examination. They both compose space in a similar manner but, completely different in medium and technique. I think they inherently want to be the same thing and I couldn’t help myself but to see what that looked like.

Why limit the images to a juxtaposition of paintings rather than exploring the medium of photography as well?

I like to produce ‘realistic’ renders of my architecure and boat designs but  I was never interested in recreating reality when working with Mies and Hockney.

How vital is colour in representing the California lifestyle of Hockney?  What would be the effect of manipulating Hockney’s paintings so as to resemble Mies’s sketches? 

I think Hockney and maybe a lot of foreigners see California a lot different than the way Californian’s see California no? There is an image of the kind of lifestyle here that is colorful, modern, chic and sometimes vulgar. I am definitely interested in lifestyle aspect that Hockney saw when he first came to California.


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