“A Bigger Splash”

To accompany the current David Hockney exhibition The Arrival of Spring, the Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles invites visitors to discover the connections between the life and work of the British artist, as well as the importance of the people around him, in the following three films: A Bigger Splash by Jack Hazan (1974), Hockney by Randall Wright (2014) and David Hockney in perspective by Pierre Saint-Jean and Monique Lajournade (1999). 

The three screenings are intended to encourage a reflection upon the format of the artist documentary: should such films obey current documentary conventions and provide a candid shot of real life at all costs?

A Bigger Splash

6990413625_ce7b46ed94_b-1With David Hockney, Peter Schlesinger, Ossie Clark, Celia Birtwell
Documentary / 1974 / 106 min
Original version in English, no subtitles

Considered a jewel of gay cinema when it was released, A Bigger Splash by Jack Hazan frees itself from conventional categories to become a work of art in its own right. The film concentrates less on David Hockney’s painting than on the elegance of his person and the distinctive décors – in London and California – in which he and his entourage lived in the early 1970s. The artist’s works, notably his famous paintings of swimming pools, combine with intimate scenes from Hockney’s private life to form an abstract composition that unfolds in a slow rhythm. A Bigger Splash paints a portrait of the artist that is made up of a myriad of fragments, like his own photographic collages (his “joiners”) of the 1980s.