The Hayward Gallery presents a major retrospective exhibition devoted to the work of celebrated British artist Bridget Riley. Spanning 70 years of the artist’s working life, it will be the largest and most comprehensive exhibition of her work to date and runs from 23 October 2019 to 26 January 2020.
Bridget Riley is one of the most distinguished and internationally renowned artists working today. Her pioneering approach to painting involves the skilful balancing of form and colour, yielding a continuous but highly varied enquiry into the nature of abstraction and perception. Riley’s rigorous and visually-charged works actively engage the viewer, bringing attention to the act of looking at paintings and perceiving the world around us.
The exhibition will trace both the origins and evolving nature of Bridget Riley’s innovative practice. Chronicling early works to recent paintings, it will feature her iconic black-and-white works of the 1960s (Kiss, 1961, Movement in Squares, 1961 and Blaze 1, 1962) and an extensive range of colour canvases (including Rise 1, 1968, High Sky, 1991 and Aria, 2012), as well as rarely-seen figurative works and studies. Including over 200 works and 50 key paintings, the exhibition will be organised around particular compositional and chromatic concerns, while also drawing attention to the interests and themes that recur throughout Riley’s formidable body of work.
The architecture of Hayward Gallery allows the installation of several key wall works (Composition with Circles 4, 2004, Rajasthan, 2012, Quiver 3, 2014), which reflect recent shifts of interest in the artist’s studio work. The exhibition will also feature several large canvases that have seldom been seen in this country (Exposure, 1966, Paean, 1973 and Aubade, 1975) and the only three-dimensional work that the artist ever realised, Continuum (1963/2005). A selection of drawings, studies and preparatory works offer insight into Riley’s working methods, from 1947 to the present day.
Ralph Rugoff, Director of Hayward Gallery said: “[Bridget Riley’s] paintings transform the act of seeing into a festive occasion, something at once riveting and revelatory. Engaging every viewer in new acts of discovery, her work is not just vision-enhancing but life-enhancing. These are paintings that make you feel more alive as they reaffirm the link between
seeing and thinking.”
Alongside the exhibition, an extensive public programme has been devised spanning talks, tours, education events and music inspired by Riley’s work. London Sinfonietta will give the London premiere of a newly commissioned work by leading Austrian composer Georg Friedrich Haas, and concerts in the exhibition itself will feature performances of Steve Reich’s Drumming, which had its European premiere at Hayward Gallery in 1972.
Bridget Riley is organised by the National Galleries of Scotland in partnership with Hayward Gallery. The exhibition is generously supported by Sotheby’s, the Bridget Riley Exhibition Supporters’ Group and The Baring Foundation.