David Hockney’s first immersive show has opened to the public in London, offering a hypnotic, multisensory journey through the artist’s decades-long career, from sun-drenched California swimming pools to the Normandy countryside. “The world is very, very beautiful if you look at it. Most people don’t look,” says Hockney in the commentary which runs through the show, “David Hockney: Bigger & Closer (not smaller & further away)”, along with archive recordings. Aged 85 and still painting , Hockney fully embraced the immersive concept, says Richard Slaney, chief executive of London’s new Lightroom venue, which co-developed the show with the artist. “He’s always been an innovator. He’s always been pushing the boundaries of things,” he says. The exhibition grew out of an email Slaney sent Hockney in 2019, suggesting a collaboration. “Maybe we thought we’d get some interviews and a little bit of time. In fact we’ve been back and forth to his house in Normandy over the past three years … and he’s been in the room with us for the last three months every day,” he says. David Bowie archive to go on display in 2025 at new London arts centre The 50-minute show uses virtual reality with immersive audio and visual techniques. Held in a single large space, the 360-degree projections feature some of the British artist’s best known works as well as other rarely seen ones. “I am a person who likes to draw … I like looking at things,” says Hockney during the show. “That’s my job, I think, making pictures,” he says, adding that in his mid-80s he still enjoyed it enormously. The exhibition is divided into six themed chapters that delve into his creative processes, accompanied by a musical score by American composer Nico Muhly. Hockney, who was born in Yorkshire, in northern England, in 1937, established himself as a major figure in the pop art movement, particularly with his 1967 painting A Bigger Splash that captures the moment after someone has dived into a swimming pool. “Sun I think drew me to Los Angeles … I just had a hunch that it was a place that I’d like,” he recalls in a section dedicated to his California period. “I just went there, I didn’t know a soul there and I thought it was two times better than I imagined.” “As you fly into LA you see all these swimming pools. I started looking at them and I noticed patterns that the water makes,” he adds. Other sections focus on his landscapes in East Yorkshire, and Normandy, in northern France, where he spent the 2020 pandemic lockdown. Slaney says Hockney’s dedication to his art and “mantra about loving life” are infectious. “He’s very funny … very dry. But he’s also so dedicated. He works crazy hours every day … He’s 85 (and) he just loves to create, loves to make work,” he says.