DAVID HOCKNEY PRINT EXHIBITION OPENING – MPRG
5 October 2019
Cr Fraser – Good afternoon everyone. I am delighted to welcome you all this opening of the David Hockney exhibition here at the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery.
I would also like to particularly welcome on behalf of the Mayor and Councillors – Sally Foster, curator of International Prints, Drawings and Illustrated Books at the National Gallery of Australia, and acknowledge here today our Mayor Cr Gill – who should be here standing at the podium, and me, where he is sitting – and our Chief Executive Officer John Baker.
This opening function is being held here in this tent which each time I attend a formal function here, this tent seems to be an all too frequent annex for major events here at the Gallery – because there is insufficient space inside the Gallery – and a very good reason why we need a new Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery.
Before proceeding further, I should like to thank our talented Director Jane Alexander and her curators for securing this exhibition and so fabulously curating it.
I should also like to acknowledge the elders, families and forbearers of the Boonwurrung/Bunurong tribe, the Kulin, who were the custodians of this land for many centuries. We acknowledge that the land on which we meet was the place of age-old ceremonies, of celebrations, initiation and renewal; and that the Kulin peoples’ living culture had, and continues to have, a unique role in the life of this region.
The Shire is delighted that the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery has been chosen as the exclusive Victorian venue for this nationally touring exhibition. It also a mark of the very high professional reputation that this Gallery, its Director Jane Alexander and our curators enjoy in the Victorian visual arts community that this Gallery has been selected as the only venue in Victoria for this touring exhibition.
This why I am delighted to welcome you to this exhibition, featuring the work of one of the most inspiring and influential British artists of the 20th century – particularly as an early propounder of the medium of photography as an art form – his camera works. Who cannot forget those evocative swimming pool montages of his early work – now evolved in his drawing in an electronic form on an i pad – as we saw several years ago at the National Gallery exhibition of his work.
At that 2017 exhibition, I can recall watching spellbound depictions of his drawing in an electronic format working up inspiring landscapes sketching in the background working to the foreground, from dark to light, and working up the detail. David Hockney has produced some of the most vivid and recognizable images of the post-World War II era.
And he is remarkably prolific. The 2017 National Gallery of Victoria exhibition I have referred to, was a major exhibition of over 1200 of his works – many in the mediums you will see in this exhibition – and an exceptionally diverse range of media – not only in the electronic media I have referred to but there was a whole gallery of small portraits – one exceptional portrait of our own Barry Humphries.
This all demonstrates that art and its various mediums are not static but dynamic. Who would have thought that his art form starting so modestly, but innovatively, could have reached its apogee which last year saw the unveiling of a new stained-glass window in Westminster Abbey in celebration of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee – all designed by Hockney on his iPad.
Incredibly, he is still working at the age of 82. As we speak he currently has an exhibition on show in New York. The NGA has an extensive collection of Hockney’s artworks and here today we have over 80 of them, particularly highlighting his talents as one of the greatest printmakers of our time.
There is much here to inspire and excite and I hope this exhibition will further nourish the creative life of this wonderful region. You don’t have to go to New York, Westminster Abby or even Canberra to see David Hockney’s work – its here on the Mornington Peninsula.
So enjoy this fabulous exhibition; enjoy David Hockney; enjoy the Mornington Peninsula!