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London and Seoul unite with giant Hockney video screening

CIRCA, a new platform showcasing digital art both online and in a public space in the heart of London, has commissioned a digital artwork from David Hockney which will be on show in London and Seoul, plus LA, New York and Tokyo, during May. In London, the display will be on the big screen at Piccadilly Circus, and in Seoul it will be hosted at Coex K-POP square. We’re told that the display in Seoul will continue until March 2022. CIRCA’s press release follows:

London, 30th April 2021. This May, outdoor screens around the world unite to present Hockney’s animated sunrise on London’s iconic Piccadilly Lights and broadcast over 70 billboards in New York’s Times Square, at Pendry West Hollywood, the largest digital media display on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, the largest LED screen in Seoul and the largest 3-paneled LED display in Japan.

Hockney: Remember you cannot look at the sun or death for very long
Still from “Remember you cannot look at the sun or death for very long,” David Hockney (2020)

A new video work by David Hockney, one of the world’s most celebrated living artists, will be unveiled across a network of the world’s most iconic outdoor video screens this May. The global collaboration, curated by Josef O’Connor, Founder and Artistic Director of CIRCA, an innovative new platform showcasing digital art in the public space, is in partnership with Piccadilly Lights, Europe’s largest screen. In a global display of unity, Hockney’s digital artwork will be broadcast around the world in collaboration with Times Square Arts’ Midnight Moment program in New York, synchronized over 70 electronic billboards, the digital media display at Pendry West Hollywood, Los Angeles’ newest screen, COEX K-POP Square, the largest LED screen in Korea, and Yunika Vision in Japan.

David Hockney said: “What does the world look like? We have to take time to see its beauty. That’s what I hope my work will encourage people to do when they see it on the large screens.”

The new video, titled Remember you cannot look at the sun or death for very long, will be shown every evening throughout the month of May at the following times and locations:

  • London: Piccadilly Lights, at 20:21BST
  • New York: Times Square across 70 electronic billboards, at 23:57EST
  • Los Angeles: Pendry West Hollywood at 20:21PST
  • Seoul: Coex K-POP Square LED screen at 20:21KST
  • Tokyo: Yunika Vision, Shinjuku at 09:00JST
  • Online via the CIRCA.ART website every evening at 20:21BST

In this worldwide display of unity, Hockney’s animated sunrise offers a powerful symbol of hope and collaboration as many parts of the world awaken from lockdown. In place of advertisements, members of the public living across these four cities are given the opportunity for a spontaneous encounter with Hockney’s meditation on the arrival of spring. Created on the artist’s iPad in Normandy, France, this global happening coincides with the release of Hockney’s new book Spring Cannot Be Cancelled and his Royal Academy exhibition The Arrival of Spring, Normandy, 2020 opening 23rd May to 26th September 2021.

A time-limited poster by David Hockney is available to buy exclusively for £100 on the CIRCA website until 31 May 2021. Created especially in support of the #CIRCAECONOMY, which arises in response to our post-Covid world, 70% of the profits will be used to commission new culture and help support the creative community with the distribution of cash grants to artists and institutions. For more info, click here.

The CIRCA.ART website will stream Hockney’s sunrise every evening at 20:21BST.

CIRCA is inviting people to support the community by waking up early and uploading either a video or photo onto social media (#HOCKNEYCIRCA) of a real sunrise in their neighbourhood. Participants are encouraged to make a donation in support of international and local organisations working to provide COVID relief and urgent supplies. A selection of participants chosen by David Hockney will receive a free poster.

Josef O’Connor, Artistic Director, CIRCA, said: “There has never been a better time for this shining image of hope, which links people across borders and continents to celebrate the arrival of spring. We are especially grateful to David Hockney, a master in exploring the boundaries of new media, for allowing CIRCA to present his work in such a bold and democratic way, connecting Piccadilly Lights with screens in America, South Korea and Japan.”

Norman Rosenthal, Chairman of The CIRCA Council, added “I love the idea of sunrise at sunset. It’s a profound idea.”

Hwasun L Barakat, Director, Barakat Contemporary said: I am glad that the Republic of Korea is joining in this historic moment where the whole world is conversing in unison in hope. and talks about hope with one voice. I hope art will be the sunrise that brightens our daily lives.

About David Hockney

David Hockney (b. 1937) is one of the world’s most influential and celebrated living artists. From the 1960’s, when he first burst onto the art scene in London, he has remained a significant force in the art world, not only for his paintings, drawings and printmaking, but also for his interrogation of photography and new media in addition to stage design. Long associated with recording life in Los Angeles, the past two decades have seen a re-engagement with the European landscape and the natural world.

In 2009, David Hockney began expanding his practice from a decades-long reliance on analog mediums to that of iPad drawings. What began as drawing with his thumb on an iPhone quickly shifted to drawing with a stylus pen on the newly released iPad: “There was great advantage in this medium because it’s backlit and I could draw in the dark. I didn’t ever have to get out of bed.”

About Circa

Created by artist Josef O’Connor, CIRCA commissions a different artist each month to present new ideas that consider our world circa 2021. Each artist is invited to create a new work for Europe’s largest screen that offers an innovative and exciting way for people to engage with art, both outside and online, in a safe and socially distanced way. Hockney’s work will pause the adverts on London’s Piccadilly Light’s screen at 20:21BST, a new time for 2021.

Visitors to Piccadilly Circus can connect their headphones to WWW.CIRCA.ART and receive a fully immersive audio-visual experience. The website also streams the artwork every evening at 20:21BST and hosts supporting content alongside past archives of CIRCA commissioned work from artists including Patti Smith, Tony Cokes and Ai Weiwei.

Starting from just £100, supporters are invited to become a CIRCA patron as part of their innovative new fundraising campaign ‘c. YOUR NAME IN LIGHTS’ which offers 1,000 people the unique opportunity to support free public art and see their name appear on the Piccadilly Lights screen every evening until the end of 2021.

To find out more, please visit:

CIRCA has been made possible by Landsec, landlord of Piccadilly Lights, who have kindly donated media space as a helpful boost to the cultural scene in London’s West End.

About Landsec

The Piccadilly Lights advertisement screen has been one of London’s icons for over a century and is unmissable for the 100 million people who pass through Piccadilly Circus every year. A cultural landmark in the Landsec property portfolio, at a time when culture and the arts have been heavily impacted, Landsec have donated time to CIRCA, an independently curated digital art platform, to create an institutional collaboration as a celebration of the arts in the public space, and to support the cultural community of London’s West End.

About COEX K-pop Square

Korea’s biggest digital billboard “COEX K-pop Square”, which is built & operated by CJ Powercast, has become the talk of the town, obtaining local as well as international attention. Measuring 81 meters in width and 21 meters in height with a total measurement of 1700 square meters, Coex K-POP Square takes the two-dimensional display to another level, providing a three-dimensional sense of space and a whole new visual experience to the audience.

Samseong-dong in Seoul, where the media is located, was designated as Korea’s first free outdoor advertising zone in 2018 for establishing a platform that creates the culture of the city beyond a simple advertising zone within less restriction to the size or type of billboards. This has allowed the Coex K-POP Square to be an immersive and competitive content platform and cultural space.

CJ Powercast INC., who is the leading Digital Out-Of-Home media company in Korea, has participated in the establishment, design & installation of COEX K-pop Square since 2017 when this location was designated from the authority, and are introducing the various types of immersive content for the public purpose & amusement, to the present. This project was given to CJ Powercast with full engagement, for the sake of worldwide public art collaboration in nowadays lockdown period.


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