Any drawing or painting contains time because you know it took time to do. You know it wasn’t made with a glance. If it’s honest work, you know it must be a genuine scrutiny of the experience of seeing.
The Japanese and the Chinese did not have the camera until the nineteenth century. I assume they didn’t because there’s no evidence of their art being one-eyed.
Here was an art that dealt with essences, not with verisimilitude, which is about surfaces.
The late theorizers of Cubism never say it’s about abstraction. They know it’s about perceiving the physical. Cubism is about how we see what we see.
We see everything in focus, everything, but we don’t see it all at once, that’s the point. We take time. The camera, the one-eyed camera, can be arranged so that it sees a lot in focus, but it’s difficult if there’s something very close to it and there’s something else thirty feet away.
I began to realize that I was making pictures in a very strange way, in that when I began I did not know where the edge was going to be.
Perspective makes you think of deep space on a flat surface. But the trouble with perspective is that is has no movement at all. The one vanishing point exists only for a fraction of a second to us. The moment your eyes moves slightly, it’s gone, and it’s somewhere else. In a painting, the hand is moving, the mark is being made: these things themselves run through time.
Any drawn image is moving through time because of the hand at work.
Words: Hockney on Art, conversations with Paul Joyce.
Images: A Walk around the Hotel Courtyard, Acatlan, 1985 by David Hockney, After A Walk around the Hotel Courtyard, Acatlan, 1985 by David Hockney by Jessica Peel-Yates and An Eye’s Walk around Bray Head by Jessica Peel-Yates