A Walk Around the Hotel Courtyard, Acatlan

David Hockney , 1985 , California, Los Angeles

Hotel Acatlán

Hockney returns to paint the courtyard of the Hotel Romano Angeles in rural Mexico, which he discovered, to his delight, when his car broke down nearby earlier in the year. Filled with luxuriant plant life, it becomes the subject of a series of paintings he completes in his Los Angeles studio, as well as lithographs that he drafts on site using a new method introduced to him by the printer Ken Tyler, which involves layering transparent Mylar sheets to plan an image’s color registration.

I am now doing a painting of a courtyard of a Mexican hotel. I loved the space of it when I first discovered it, and went back to stay five days. It has so many different perspectives that you are forced to move your eye constantly over the surface of the canvas. It is a totally impossible view from one point, yet there is clarity and order about the picture. The effect of space is extremely strong, yet it is not an illusion you want to walk in to—because you are already in the picture and walking round—every viewer so far feels this. This is also the effect of seeming to soften the edges of the canvas—you are not looking through a hole …. Like the photographs, there is no way it can all be seen easily or at once, yet it is always recognizable as a courtyard. In short, the only way it can be seen all at once is as an abstraction, which is what it is, as are all things on a flat surface.

  • David Hockney
  • 1985
  • Benesse Art Site, Naoshima, Kagawa, Japan
  • Painting
  • Oil on 2 canvases
  • 72 x 240"

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