For Students

Past Exhibitions: 2002

Cavafy's World: Hidden Things

February 21 - May 5, 2002
Works on Paper Gallery

Cavafy
David Hockney
British, born 1937
Portrait of Cavafy in Alexandria from Illustrations for Fourteen Poems from C. P. Cavafy, 1966-67
etching
© David Hockney

Cavafy's World: Hidden Things presents a series of etchings by the well-known British artist David Hockney. In the late 1960s Hockney discovered the works of Constantine P. Cavafy (1863-1933), one of modern Greece's most eminent poets. Many of Cavafy's poems address the topics of homosexuality and memory, issues that absorbed Hockney as well. For Cavafy, who spent most of his adult life in Alexandria, Egypt, homosexuality needed to be hidden. His poems recount fleeting encounters and the intoxicating power that comes with reliving those experiences in memory. Hockney's 'translations' of these emotive poems echo the economy of Cavafy's poetic style. Like the figures in Cavafy's verse, Hockney's men are drawn with simplicity and tenderness, subtly but never explicitly erotic. The matching of Cavafy's poems and Hockney's etchings provide an unusual and contemplative experience.