David Hockney to launch immersive experience at new London arts venue

David Hockney is set to launch an immersive experience which will give visitors the opportunity to engage with audio and visual elements to follow a journey through his art.

The show, created by the 85-year-old Bradford-born artist, will launch early next year at Lightroom, a new four-storey venue in King’s Cross, London.

The show, David Hockney: Bigger & Closer (Not Smaller & Further Away), will use virtual reality with immersive audio and visual techniques to guide visitors into Hockney’s world, featuring some of the artist’s most recognisable paintings alongside rarely seen pieces and some newly created work.

David Hockney Bigger & Closer (Not Smaller & Further Away) (David Hockney/PA)
David Hockney Bigger & Closer (Not Smaller & Further Away) (David Hockney/PA)

Hockney will reveal his artistic processes using a cycle of six themed chapters, with a specially composed score by American composer Nico Muhly and a commentary by Hockney himself.

Through the use of virtual reality, visitors will watch Hockney experiment with perspective, using photography as a way of “drawing with a camera”, capturing the passing of time in his Polaroid collages and the joy of spring using an iPad.

Speaking on the soundtrack, which will be listened to by visitors of the show, Hockney said: “The world is very, very beautiful if you look at it, but most people don’t look very much.

“They scan the ground in front of them so they can walk, they don’t really look at things incredibly well, with an intensity. I do.”

The show’s director Mark Grimmer, of 59 Productions design studio, said: “We have worked with David to bring together large-scale projected images, animation, archival and bespoke interviews and a commissioned score to create a new kind of show which owes as much to Hockney’s theatrical design as to his painting, drawing and photography.

“It’s been thrilling to work with David over the last three years and we hope the show will introduce a whole new audience to his art.”

Installation of David Hockney’s The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven) (David Hockney/Collection Centre Pompidou, Paris/PA)
Installation of David Hockney’s The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven) (David Hockney/Collection Centre Pompidou, Paris/PA)

After three years of collaborating on the project, Hockney and the creators of Lightroom will launch the show, which is expected to be the first in a repertoire of original shows, on January 25.

Sir Nicholas Hytner, the show’s executive producer, said: “What’s so exciting about this show is how authentically Hockney it is.

“Listening to his voice in this astonishing new space while seeing his artworks unfurl around the four walls is going to be both an experience and an education.

“It suggests how potent this medium will be for the other creators and artists with whom we will make new and original Lightroom shows in the years to come.”

David Hockney: Bigger & Closer (Not Smaller & Further Away) will initially run from January 25 to April 23 at Lightroom in King’s Cross.

Tickets are on sale now.