A David Hockney Retrospective Has Hit London’s Newest Immersive Art Space • Lightroom

What’s there to do in London when you’ve been to every single art gallery and museum? Well, there’s almost always something new to see upon return trips, thanks to the huge variety in special exhibitions and shows. But what if you’re after something new? What if you’re after something completely different? London art venue, Lightroom, which opened just last month, has the answer in the form of their artist-led shows that combine visual spectacle with high-tech audio. First on the programme: a David Hockney retrospective that takes you into the artist’s mind and work…

David Hockney's work The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven)" projected onto the wall of Lightroom with visitors milling around
Installation of David Hockney’s “The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven)”
Oil on 32 canvases (36 x 48″ each), 144 x 384″ overall, © David Hockney – Collection Centre Pompidou, Paris. Musée national d’art moderne – Centre de création industrielle

David Hockney: Bigger & Closer (not smaller & further away)‘ is the result of three years of collaboration between David Hockney and the creators of Lightroom. It’s also an obvious next step and evolution of Hockney’s life-long fascination with the possibilities of new media. The show traces its way through the artist’s 60 years of work, with a corresponding narration that plunges viewers deep into the pieces. The show will run from February 22 – June 4.

David Hockney: Bigger & Closer (not smaller & further away)

It’s very much a personal, Hockney-guided journey, with the artist’s voice soundtracking the experience as he invites visitors to see the world through his eyes. Iconic paintings from Hockney’s career are featured, alongside rarely seen works and all-new pieces, over the course of a 45-minute show covering six chapters of his career. David Hockney takes the audience through his process as he experiments with different mediums and formats.

David Hockney with a camera out, observing a mockup of the show at Lightroom
David Hockney viewing the model box containing “August 2021, Landscape with Shadows” Twelve iPad paintings comprising a single work © David Hockney. Photo credit: Mark Grimmer

The show guides viewers through both Hockney’s works and the settings that inspired them. It travels from LA to Yorkshire, from the Grand Canyon to Normandy. And always the theme running through it all is looking, seeing, perceiving.

As Hockney says in the show:

“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.”

David Hockney's grand canyon work projected onto walls with visitors milling around
Installation of David Hockney’s “A Bigger Grand Canyon” 1998 – Oil on 60 canvases, 81 1/2 x 293″ overall, © David Hockney – Collection National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

Said Nicholas Hytner, executive producer:

“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.”

We went along and had a look, and we were very impressed at how it stands out in a city full of immersive art exhibitions:

Okay, so what is Lightroom?

Lightroom is London’s newest venue for an all-new art experience. The four-storey venue utilises the latest digital projection and audio technology to explore the stories and works from the world’s leading artists. The hope is that if they provide the space and technology, artists will be able to create something completely new.

a mockup of the exterior of lightroom
Lightroom External View

Said Danny Cohen, of Access Entertainment:

“Lightroom is a new home for the world’s great artistic innovators. It’s an opportunity for them to think and create in new and spatially ambitious ways using the latest digital technology. David Hockney’s new show will delight and amaze audiences – we can’t wait to open the doors to Lightroom in January 2023.”

Lightroom also features a generous foyer containing a café/bar run in collaboration with the legendary St JOHN. There’s also a gift shop and seating in the foyer and outside on the square.

Bookings are open for Hockney’s show at Lightroom, with tickets from £25 for adults and from £15 for students. Head to the site to grab your ticket.

David Hockney: Bigger & Closer (not smaller & further away) will run at Lightroom from February 22 – June 4.

Practical information