There’s a cliché that people in designer clothes attend art galleries to appreciate the Greats, making worthy appraisals while stroking their chins. David Hoyle arrives in front of a Picasso in a dress made of pens and all hushed reverence is drowned by laughter from an audience who are eager to see the great works through David’s eyes. There are even a few clichés amongst us, caught up in the crowd and slightly bemused as they are swept along in a refreshingly surreal tour of the famous gallery.
“I’m interested to know what the girl who modelled for this actually looked like,” says David regarding the Picasso before us, voicing our own unconscious, secret thoughts. It’s this delicious rebellion against the unthinking, accepted perception of art that unites us all as we move from one piece to another.
“This one is very…blue,” says David, unable to contain his own mirth and moves swiftly on. “Next!” A Henry Moore-style sculpture is similarly presented. “I wonder if this piece came out of the kiln looking quite how the artist expected it to?” But this isn’t irreverence for the sake of it: David is an accomplished artist himself and goes on to do a painting of a member of the audience right before our eyes and donates the work to the gallery.
‘What does this make you think of?” asks David, indicating a plastic plant spray in a glass display case with what appears to be a selection from the B&Q gardening range. “Arts Council grants,” I reply a little too quickly. Scathing, hilarious and thought-provoking, David Hoyle himself is perhaps the most striking piece in the Tate. Crackling with spontaneous wit, he is an unpredictable splash of colour, the painted shaker of pedestals.
David Hoyle can be found on Facebook.