Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The Sad Case of David Hockney's Stump

The twelve-foot-high tree stump which featured in several of David Hockney's wonderful paintings in his show at the Royal Academy earlier this year has been vandalised and cut down, which has understandably upset the artist (and me -- more than I would have expected).
'Winter Timber' by David Hockney

He was quoted in The Guardian as saying, "It is something that has made me depressed. It was just a spite. There are loads of very mean things here now in Britain." He has been to see the damaged stump and is doing drawings of it as a way of dealing with the saddening turn of events.
The tree was spraypainted some time before it was actually hacked in two. Here's the stump at full height but grafitti-ed:
It does seem incredible that this block of dead wood, which had particular meaning for Hockney -- he referred to it as his 'totem' -- should have been singled out for deliberate spoiling. It seems to suggest someone with a reasonable degree of awareness of modern art but also a bent for vandalism. I'd like to think those two things would be would be incompatible but it seems not.
     Apart from Hockney's own beautiful artworks to memorialise the tree, there's still another way to see it.  If, as I'm wont to do, you go travelling on Google Street View, you can visit the location of the tree stump and see it still standing, in rather lovely wintry sunlight. It's in Sands Wood, on Woldgate, the road from Bridlington to Kilham.


Gina said...

It does seem rather incongruous that someone so mean minded could also be aware of the significance of this tree stump. I always like to think the best of people and human nature and then you hear about something horrible like this. What a shame.

Jill said...

A totally pointless act of vandalism - it is not as if the stump was being claimed as a work of art itself. Hockney must feel personally targeted by the perpetrator(s). But we stand with you David.

Joanna said...

That really is sad - and almost unbelievable that someone with enough of a knowledge of art to identify this particular stump, should deem it worthy of such mindless vandalism.


colleen said...

I find it very puzzling that someone should go to so much trouble, schlepping a chain saw, paint etc to a rural spot, out of sheer nastiness. It is most depressing. Tree stumps often look the subjects of violence when newly cut, and this just adds to the brutality.

I am dreading the loss of ash trees.

menopausalmusing said...

Mindless, totally, mindless.

LAC EMP 2020 said...

My thoughts echo Cathy's exactly. This is sheer malicious damage, obviously planned and executed by someone who wanted to make a point that 99.9% of the population won't get or understand. Somtimes I despair of my fellow man.