David Hockney Lights Up London’s Battersea Power Station With Animated Christmas Trees

Hockney created the works on his trusty iPad Pro.

David Hockney, Bigger Christmas Trees (2023). Photo courtesy of Battersea Power Station.

British pop artist David Hockney has revealed his latest artwork: two digitally animated Christmas trees illuminating Battersea Power Station’s iconic 328-foot towers.

At 10.30 p.m. on December 1, the digital installation was switched on. Battersea Power Station shared a video of the Christmas trees on their official Instagram page, writing: “World-renowned artist David Hockney has sprinkled some Christmas magic over Battersea Power Station with a bespoke new piece of art! Drawn on iPad, Hockney’s 10-minute animation, ‘Bigger Christmas Trees,’ will be here until the 25th December, transforming our iconic façade into two magical Christmas trees overlooking the River Thames.”

Battersea Power Station—an art deco building in Nine Elms built between 1929 and 1941, which at one point produced a fifth of London’s power—recently celebrated the first anniversary of its reopening to the public following an almost 40-year closure. As part of its Christmas celebrations, the Power Station has also put out an iceskating rink and is hosting a series of workshops and markets. 

Attending its launch, the Independent’s tech editor Andrew Griffin called the artwork “a bright and grand tribute to the wonder of Hockney, Battersea Power Station (and the iPad), all in one.” Battersea Power Station is also the home of Apple’s U.K. headquarters.

Bigger Christmas Trees is the latest work in a long series of pieces made by Hockney using Apple products. The 86-year-old Bradford-born artist began working with an iPhone in 2007, and during the pandemic lockdowns of 2020, he created more than 200 artworks on an iPad. His digital artworks have been displayed in the across the world and in 2018 one of Hockney’s iPad illustrations were translated into stained glass for The Queen’s Window in Westminster Abbey. 

The work’s title links the animation to other key works by Hockney including his famous A Bigger Splash (1967)—also used as the title for the 1973 documentary on the artist’s life—and one of two retrospectives of his work running in London this year, Bigger & Closer (not smaller & further away) held in Kings Cross’ Lightroom between February and December 2023. His other retrospective, Drawing from Life, is on view at the National Portrait Gallery until January 21, 2024. 

Hockney said, “Battersea Power Station is such a beautiful building, I wanted to decorate it in a way that I hoped would bring joy and hope to Londoners”. The artwork will be projected onto the towers every day from 5 to 10.30 p.m. until December 25.

 

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