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David Hockney's IPad Flowers Bloom in Paris

David Hockney's IPad Flowers Bloom in Paris

In his iPad drawing "Untitled, 8 July 2010," David Hockney creates luminous textures and reflections on the rose petals, leaves, and glass. Courtesy © David Hockney

By Grégory Picard, ARTINFO France

November 23, 2010

PARIS— David Hockney has long been among the most vociferous proponents of the iPad, using it to compose daily pictures of fleurs fraîches or fresh flowers that zoomed through cyberspace and into the inboxes of his friends. Until recently, however, these digital drawings were available only for the private enjoyment of a select few. Now, a longstanding friendship with Pierre Bergé and the late Yves Saint Laurent has led to a show of these floral creations at their Paris foundation.

The artist began creating “virtual paintings” on his iPhone in 2008, later adopting the iPad for its larger scale. He uses the Brushes application to draw on the screen with his thumbs, and has created about a hundred iPad images in this way. This new medium has allowed Hockney to create brightly shimmering works that recall the hues of Picasso or Matisse.

The British artist achieves stunning effects of texture and light on the iPad. His pink rose bears soft, shadowy petals and sits atop a clear glass mug that seems to contain refracted images in its water. Elongated, purple blooms stretch out from a vase that appears to have both the shine and the weight of porcelain. The iPhone images, while less detailed and more stylized, also present intriguing explorations of color and line.

At the foundation, the images are displayed directly on iPad and iPhone screens or are enlarged as digital projections. New York architect Ali Tayar designed the exhibition to include a replica of the British artist’s studio and a floating screen offers viewers insight into Hockney’s artistic process by showing the various stages of creation of the improvised bouquets.

This is Hockney’s first sizable exhibition in Paris in over ten years (the last was a show of landscapes at the Pompidou Center). When Yves Saint Laurent presented Hockney with the Rosa d’Oro award in 2004, he placed him “among the greatest colorists of this century, alongside Matisse and Rothko.” With Hockney’s iPad palette, color remains the star.

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