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David Hockney to launch an immersive art show in London in January 2023

The artist invites visitors to experience the world through his eyes at Lightroom, a ground-breaking new arts hub

Who better to mark the opening of London’s cutting-edge creative space Lightroom in January 2023, than pioneering artist David Hockney? The artist’s new immersive art show Bigger & Closer (not smaller & further away) is the inaugural exhibition at the innovative arts hub, inviting visitors to fully immerse themselves in his work through the latest digital technology. Here’s everything you need to know about the legendary pop artist’s new exhibition at Lightroom.

David Hockney immersive art show in London - January 2023
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

He’s the artist forever pushing boundaries, fascinated by the intersection of new media and art. And now David Hockney looks set to do it again, inviting us into his creative world in a new immersive art exhibition Bigger & Closer (not smaller & further away) at Lightroom, a brand-new creative space in King’s Cross which throws opens its doors in January. 

David Hockney immersive art show in London - January 2023
Installation of David Hockney’s "Gregory Swimming Los Angeles March 31st 1982" Composite polaroid, 27 3/4 x 51 1/4", © David Hockney

The exhibition is the culmination of a three-year collaboration between the 85-year-old artist and the creators of Lightroom, an extraordinary four-storey venue on Lewis Cubitt Square, adjacent to Coal Drops Yard and Central St Martin’s. Equipped with the very latest digital projection and audio technology, the space has been designed as London’s new home for artist-led shows and is a joint venture between design studio 59 Productions and the London Theatre Company, co-founded by Nicholas Hytner, who is also executive producer of Lightroom, and Nick Starr.

David Hockney immersive art show in London - January 2023
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

Indeed, it’s the sister space to the award-winning Bridge Theatre in SE1, but instead of actors, Lightroom will host a repertoire of multi-sensorial exhibitions from leading artists and innovators. Each show will harness large scale projection, animation, bespoke audio and specifically commissioned scores to create an experience that promises to be “both alive with sound and rich in new perspectives”.

David Hockney immersive art show in London - January 2023
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

“We’re inviting the world’s leading creative minds to collaborate with us to use Lightroom’s epic scale, cutting-edge projection and revolutionary sound technology to create something completely new,” explains Richard Slaney, Lightroom’s CEO.

And who better to kick off proceedings than Hockney, who uses the venue to take the audience on a personal journey through his oeuvre. Expect his iconic paintings, but also rarely seen work and newly created pieces, all presented in a unique, out-of-the-box way.

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The exhibition is presented in a cycle of six chapters lasting a total of 50 minutes, accompanied by a specially composed score by Nico Muhly and commentary from the artist himself. You’ll have Hockney’s voice in your ears as you watch him playing with perspective or using photography as a way of “drawing with a camera”. In another section he shares how he captures the joy of spring on his iPad – it’s almost, Hytner said in a recent interview, as if you’re watching him paint in real time. Elsewhere, the visitor is invited to join Hockney on his audio-visual Wagner Drive, a road trip into the San Gabriel mountains; or into the opera house by means of animated recreations of his stage designs. 

David Hockney immersive art show in London - January 2023
Lightroom External View

Everywhere you look, you’ll be immersed in Hockney, whether in Los Angeles or Yorkshire or his current home in Normandy. In the accompanying soundtrack, the artist says: “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 immersive art show in London - January 2023
Artwork - David Hockney: Bigger & Closer (not smaller & further away) © David Hockney

“What’s so exciting about this show is how authentically Hockney it is,” explains Hytner. “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.”

Lightroom also has a café/bar run in collaboration with St John (where the restaurant’s signature doughnuts and madeleines will be freshly baked to order), a gift shop and seating in the foyer and outside on Lewis Cubitt Square. The new space is a glittering addition to the thriving King’s Cross area, and it’s certainly launching with a bang. 

Bigger & Closer (not smaller & further away) runs from 25 January to 23 April 2023

Lightbox, 12 Lewis Cubitt Square, King’s Cross, London N1C 4DY; lightroom.uk

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