Never, never have I ever queued as long as I did to get tickets to see the David Hockney exhibition at The Royal Academy. Having numerous sunny days stuck in work at home in Brighton, the one day we decided to take a trip to London before the Hockney exhibition finished, Britain decided to cloud over and threaten us with murky grey skies - much to our utter despair when kept in a queue, outside for two and a half hours, listening to posh people talk about churches and scholarships. For some ridiculous reason I also didn't have any breakfast which means all I had to eat until the queue finished at around half past three, was a Wispa Gold. So, if any exhibition had to live up to my expectations more than any other, it was the one that (unknowingly) starved me. I've never been to the Royal Academy before and as my photos show above, it's absolutely spectacular to look at, however it was unbelievably rammed with people all walking around aimlessly trying to get tickets before everyone else. We managed to get tickets for the slot at 6pm and decided to spend the time in between, to quickly go over to the Tate Modern to see the Yayoi Kusama exhibition. I know that Hirst's work was showing there at the same time and didn't particularly fancy seeing his stuff (nor did we have the time) but I was surprised that the tickets to see the work cost more than Kusama's. For some reason I'd have thought her work would have been rarer to see in Britain but apparently the enfant terrible of the art world still commands more money. I actually don't hate Hirst by the way( as an argument with Stuckists on this blog years ago shows). As soon as we walked in to the first room of Kusama's work, I felt like a bad fan. I'm bordering on obsessed with polka dots, repetition and pattern, so for me, a lot of her work is amazing on an aesthetic level as well as a more meaningful one, however, I was unfamiliar with so much of her older 2D work. The performances and film pieces I'd seen, as well as the infinity mirrors, nets, rooms and phallic sculptures, but not any of the older paintings. Unsurprisingly, the older work didn't grab my attention as much as the work I've known, loved and wanted to see for quite some time. I was most looking forward to the Infinity Mirrored Room because in university I'd made so much work with mirrors and shiny things, and obsessed over her use of them for so long that I think I built her work up to more than it ever could have possibly lived up to. The mirrored room was absolutely beautiful, and definitely one of the best parts of any exhibition I've been to, but the problem is that the initial shock and awe you feel on walking in to the room quickly goes away once you can see your reflection more clearly, can see the lights hanging from wires and can see the floor path, with a lip to guide you in case you get lost (as well as the steward stood in the corner to stop you from taking photos), so I left feeling a little less in awe than I thought I would. The photo I took below of I'm Here, But Nothing was definitely the best part of the whole show. It was oddly more immersive than the Infinity Room, possibly because you could walk around more, peer at things, and the lighting used altered the colour of your clothes as well as everything else in the room. Afterwards Scott and I bought a print of Once the Abominable War is Over, Happiness Fills our Hearts, which we're going to get framed for our little thimble of a flat, and left to rush back to the RA before our time slot was over.
It took us about an hour to complete a simple journey on the tube from the Tate to the RA, not being from London, I didn't realised just how packed everything gets when work ends. We literally waited for numerous trains, where no one got off until we finally decided to take a longer journey around via a different line, just so we'd be moving. By the time we got to the Academy we thought we'd missed our slot and felt very tired, hot from walking so fast and a little down about it all, but lo and behold, the place seemed so busy they just let us in. Pretty sure Scott high fived me then, suchhhh the children that we are. Safe to say that the exhibition was definitely worth the money, time, stress, rubbish tube journey and queueing that it took to get us there. I genuinely fail to see how anyone can not like Hockney's work., just looking at the landscapes makes you happy, and the fact he'd chosen to exhibit everything from sketchbooks and quick, obviously rushed paintings, to huge, grand, detailed ones was a brilliant way to showcase the processes he uses along with the time and dedication it took to make them. I first saw the Yorkshire paintings when Scott gave me the A Bigger Picture dvd, (years ago when I still lived in Wales and we weren't together) and fell in love with them. If anyone has the chance to watch it, his quick ink sketches of flowers and grasses that look like Chinese ink drawings are stunning and full of movement. The only thing I didn't 'love' about the exhibition was the room dedicated to The Sermon on the Mount, I couldn't really understand why they were shown at the same time as the Yorkshire paintings other than because chronologically he was painting them at the same time and as a result was a little confused and didn't like them as much.
I think what was most impressive were the ipad drawings which were both on mounted ipads, as well as printed as hugeeee images in another room. Scott commented earlier in the day that his paintings look almost backlit, as though light is always coming out from behind, which makes them pop, and we thought it was funny how the ipad kind of mimics that which is perhaps why they work so well. Although the large prints of the drawings were applicable to the scale of lots of other paintings in the show, I did think they looked better when smaller and on the ipad itself. Afterwards I bought a little Hockney tote bag to put my heels in so I could go home in my flats, we got hot chocolates and, quite exhausted, took the train back home.
There's also a sneaky picture of a babydoll I bought in work, within the above pictures because, although orignally £20, I got it for 70p thanks to the sales at work and my staff discount. Gorgeous bargain! I also got a see through knickerbox babydoll with a bow on it, which I wear in an outfit with a vest top underneath. There's definitely too many nice things to buy when you work in a lingerie shop!