Snails Space with Vari-Lites, "Painting as Performance"

  • David Hockney, Snails Space with Vari-Lites, "Painting as Performance", 1995-1996, oil on two canvases, acrylic on canvas-covered masonite, wood dowels, Smithsonian American Art Museum, © 1995-96, David Hockney, Gift of Nan Tucker McEvoy, 2003.31A-X

Publication Label

Snails Space unfolds as a silent performance that evokes David Hockney's experience of designing sets and costumes for operas even as he lost his hearing. In the absence of sound, pure visual experience compensates and suggests a different narrative to every viewer. The installation consists of two attached canvases and a floor piece that look like a tiny, tangled world blown up to a preposterous size. Three-dimensional and painted patterns and shapes suggest enchanted forests and streams. These appear to advance and recede with the changing colors of the lights, controlled by a nine-minute computer program; viewers follow these shifts as they would the episodes of a stage play.

Smithsonian American Art Museum: Commemorative Guide. Nashville, TN: Beckon Books, 2015.

Title
Snails Space with Vari-Lites, "Painting as Performance"
Artist
Date
1995-1996
On View
Dimensions
overall: 84 x 260 x 135 in. (213.4 x 660.4 x 342.9 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Nan Tucker McEvoy

Mediums
Mediums Description
oil on two canvases, acrylic on canvas-covered masonite, wood dowels
Classifications
Highlights
Keywords
  • Abstract
Object Number
2003.31A-X
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

More from artist

1993-1995
oil on canvas
1993
digital dye print on paper mounted on paper
2010
digital video installation, color, silent; 49:00 minutes
2010-2011
digital video installation, color, silent; 04:21 minutes
1986
hand-made print executed on an office copier
2011
digital video installation, color, silent; 12:39 minutes

More Artworks from the Collection

1986-1987
oil and acrylic on canvas
1992
oil on linen