LACMA | Bing Theater
Free and open to the public
1988; restored 2017, 48 minutes, color, DCP | Directed by Philip Haas and David Hockney
Directors Philip Haas and David Hockney provide a magical journey in "A Day on the Grand Canal with the Emperor of China or Surface is Illusion but So Is Depth." As Hockney unrolls a beautiful and minutely detailed 17th-century Chinese scroll, he provides commentary and dazzling discourse on eastern and western visual traditions and their relationship to his own artistic vision. The famed artist has always been interested in looking closely at the world; his art through the years has investigated ways of seeing through landscape, portraiture, photography, and, more recently iPhone and iPad drawings. Describing the adventure of painting, Hockney narrates in his own whimsical and entertaining style. Featured in the film is a painting in LACMA's collection.
The film was carefully restored in digital format just last year. In the catalog of Milestone Films, this one has always been one of the most visually stunning.