In the next lecture of her course Dissymmetrical Similarities, Irina Kulik compares the diverse yet resonating practices of the two iconic figures of postwar art, Briton David Hockney and German Gerhard Richter.
The practice of the major British artist David Hockney (b. 1937) spreads over several decades, some of them spent in California. Influenced by Modernism, Cubism and Expressionism in particular, Hockney, however, is traditionally associated with Pop Art. He came into fame with a series of acrylic paintings executed in America and depicting swimming pools, but is also known for his signature portraits of people who were close to him. More recently, Hockney has been creating landscapes using iPad apps, though he continues working with conventional media, like painting and drawing, as well as producing opera stage designs for various companies around the world.
Gerhard Richter (b. 1932) is one of the leading artists and theorists of the contemporary period. He received a degree in fine arts in Dresden, East Germany, right on the eve of the erection of the Berlin Wall, before leaving for Düsseldorf, where he continued to study and soon began exhibiting. Contrary to postwar tendencies in Western art, Richter has been working in the medium of painting throughout his career. His key works are based on photographs found in newspapers or his personal archive, and examine the themes of documentation and representation. One of his most talked-about series is the black and white cycle October 18, 1977 (1988) dedicated to the radical leftist group RAF. Since the 1980s, Richter has been making large-scale abstract acrylic paintings finished with a squeegee.