English artist David Hockney will present his first foray into video installation, The Jugglers, June 24th 2012, at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art this spring and summer (May 23-Sept. 1). Hockney is primarily known for his paintings, drawings, prints and photographs, as well as opera set design.
The nine-minute film features 12 black-clad figures juggling colorful objects as they move though a brightly lit room. Hockney shot the piece in his Yorkshire studio at midday, using 18 cameras, and, correspondingly, the Whitney installation will be displayed on a grid of 18 screens. The choices for the stark, nearly shadow-less lighting and the many cameras were both inspired by the composition of ancient Chinese scrolls, which lack a single perspective. The work also hearkens back to Hockney’s well-known photo collages, in which the artist combined many photos of a single subject into one distorted image.
Whitney curator Chrissie Iles, who organized the presentation of the work, explained in a press release that The Jugglers explores “how multiple perspectives can transform our experience of the moving image.” Iles also spoke of the video installation’s cinematic influences: “The vivid tones of The Jugglers evoke the intense color of Technicolor Hollywood film, while the jugglers’ playful movements echo the simple actions of early silent movies. Hockney mines the histories of cinema and painting through the lens of technology, to create a new way of seeing.”