SHAPE AND FORM: The photomontage
SHAPE AND FORM: The photomontage

HOLLYWOOD is being welcomed to The Bowes Museum in the form of a major photomontage of an American actress by Britain’s most famous living artist.

The Hockney and Hollywood exhibition, which opened last week, features a life-sized nude photographic study of Theresa Russell by David Hockney.

The Yorkshire-born artist was commissioned by his friend, Hollywood film director Nicolas Roeg, to create the montage for the movie “Insignificance”, which starred his then wife, Theresa Russell, as Marilyn Monroe.

The comedy, set in a New York hotel in the 1950s, tells the story of four icons of the era as they discuss life, death, sex and the universe.

It took Hockney four attempts with a Pentax camera to capture the images he wanted to create the stunning “Nude, 17th June 1984”.

The collage shows Theresa’s front and back as Hockney explores the use of lines and edges in his photography. The actress’ pose, together with the pink satin sheets, her blond wig and licking of her lips is said to be reminiscent of a centrefold pin up. Mr Roeg documented Hockney at work on the piece, photographing the artist as he prepared the scene, the assistants as they applied make up and Hockney taking the posed shots. These photographs make up an integral part of the exhibition, The Bowes Museum said.

The work is on loan to the museum for two years from Mr Roeg’s family.