Splashing, Hockney, grain.

Alejandro Martín’s insistence on the unavoidability of seeing paintings nowadays in different media formats, at the same time, and the derivative epistemological lessons to withdraw from experiencing painting through video, computer screen, printed in books and even (when one is lucky) the original oil or acrylic or whatever, on canvas (!), has lingered in my mind.

Hockney (at Tate Britain) provides a fantastic example of un-splashing the big splash, of looking for the granularity of the flow, of decomposing, as it were, the energy (seminal, watery, fluid, lightning fast) of the splash of water in the pool into grains of canvas and paint. I like what the camera captures by just taking pictures very close and (finally) zooming out and recovering the original splash, the Ur-diving, the light.

The rivulets, the wavelets, the sheaves of water, the undercurrents, the undertows, the droplets, the sheathed surfaces of fluid, the mist, the haze – all the tantalizing possibilities of water splashing, being at the same time decomposed by Hockney and in the final stage being re-composed into an indolent California swimming pool scene.

(Note: clicking on the images will give you larger scale versions, where you can fairly see some of these details – I took these pictures in the museum, with no tripod nor (of course) any flash – but you can still make out some of the details.)

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David Hockney – A Bigger Splash – 1967