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David Hockney, 'Remember that you cannot look at the sun or death for very long’, 2021

In Spilt Ink and Ruby Dreaming, Hockney turns further inward, meditating on his practice through the years, on the medium of painting itself, and on the surface of his work as the set of a dynamic stage.

As Tate curator Andrew Wilson wrote in 2017, in Hockney’s works for opera sets, the artist “believed that he was starting to find a way to represent three and four dimensions, space and movement—as well as emotion—on the flat surface of two dimensions, which itself can only be an idea that encompasses representation and abstraction as one.” (“Experiences of Space”, in David Hockney, 2017)