The Hayward Gallery is to present a major retrospective exhibition devoted to the work of the celebrated British artist, Bridget Riley, in October 2019. The National Galleries of Scotland organised this exhibition in partnership with the Hayward Gallery and close collaboration with the artist. Opening in October 2019, this comprehensive exhibition will be the first museum survey of Riley’s work to be held in the UK for 16 years. The exhibition will place particular emphasis on the origins of Riley’s perceptual paintings and will trace pivotal, decisive moments in her acclaimed career. It will feature early representational paintings, iconic black-and-white paintings of the 1960s, expansive canvases in colour, recent wall paintings as well as studies and preparatory material. Alongside her best-known canvases, the exhibition will also include the only three-dimensional work that the artist ever realised, Continuum (1963), as well as new wall paintings made especially for the Hayward Gallery. Spanning 70 years of Riley’s work, the exhibition will offer visitors an unparalleled opportunity to experience powerful and engaging works by one of the most important artists of our time.
Bridget Riley’s long association with the Hayward stretches over four previous exhibitions – Ralph Rugoff, Director
Ralph Rugoff, Director, Hayward Gallery said: “The Hayward Gallery programme for 2019 features major exhibitions by two of the most important and pioneering artists of the postwar era: Diane Arbus in February and in October Bridget Riley, whose long association with the Hayward stretches over four previous exhibitions, including the first UK survey of her work in 1971.
The Hayward Gallery, part of Southbank Centre, has a long history of presenting work by the world’s most adventurous and innovative artists including major solo shows by both emerging and established artists and dynamic group exhibitions. They include those by Bridget Riley, Martin Creed, Antony Gormley, Tracey Emin, Andy Warhol, Ed Ruscha, Jeremy Deller, Anish Kapoor, René Magritte, Francis Bacon and David Shrigley, as well as influential group exhibitions such as Africa Remix, Light Show, Psycho Buildings and most recently Space Shifters. Opened by Her Majesty, The Queen in July 1968, the gallery is one of the few remaining buildings of its style. The Brutalist architecture designed by a group of young architects, including Dennis Crompton, Warren Chalk and Ron Herron and is named after Sir Isaac Hayward, a former leader of the London County Council.
Bridget Riley is one of the most significant artists working today, dedication to the interaction of form and colour has led to a continued exploration of perception. From the early 1960s, she has used elementary shapes such as lines, circles, curves, and squares to create visual experiences that actively engage the viewer, at times triggering optical sensations of vibration and movement. Her earliest black-and-white compositions offer impressions of several other pigments while ensuring, multi-chromatic works present colour as an active component. Although abstract, her practice is closely linked with nature, which she understands to be “the dynamism of visual forces—an event rather than an appearance.”
Bridget Riley was born in 1931 in London, where she attended Goldsmiths College from 1949 to 1952 and the Royal College of Art from 1952 to 1955. Riley’s first solo exhibitions were held at Gallery One, London in 1962 and 1963, followed by two exhibitions at Robert Fraser Gallery, London, in 1966 and 1967. She was also at that time included in numerous group exhibitions such as Towards Art?, Royal College of Art London (1962); The New Generation, Whitechapel Gallery, London (1964); and Painting and Sculpture of a Decade 1954–1964, Tate Gallery, London (1964). In 1965, her work was included in the now-seminal group exhibition The Responsive Eye, organised by William Seitz at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. In 1968, she represented Great Britain at the 34th Venice Biennale (along with Philip King), where she was the first living British painter to win the prestigious International Prize for Painting. Her first retrospective, covering the period 1961-1970, opened at the Hanover Kunstverein in 1971, and subsequently travelled to Kunsthalle Bern, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna, Turin, and the Hayward Gallery, London.
More recent solo exhibitions include Bridget Riley: Cosmos at Christchurch Art Gallery, New Zealand (2017); Bridget Riley: Venice and Beyond, Paintings 1967-1972 at Graves Gallery, Museum Sheffield, England (2016); Bridget Riley – The Curve Paintings 1961-2014 at De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill on Sea, England (2015; travelled to Gemeentemuseum, The Hague); Bridget Riley: Learning from Seurat at The Courtauld Gallery in London (2015); and Bridget Riley (2014-2015). Bridget Riley: Paintings and Related Work (2010-2011) were on view at the Sunley Room at the National Gallery, London. Also in London in 2010, the National Portrait Gallery presented Bridget Riley: From Life, an exhibition of Riley’s little-known sketches drawn from life. Other recent international museum shows include Bridget Riley: Flashback, which first went on view at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool in 2009; Bridget Riley: Rétrospective at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in 2008; Bridget Riley: Paintings and Drawings 1961-2004 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney in 2004-2005; Bridget Riley: New Work at the Museum Haus Esters and Kaiser Wilhelm Museum, Krefeld, Germany in 2002; and Bridget Riley: Reconnaissance at the Dia Center for the Arts, New York from 2000-2001. Work by the artist is included in museum collections worldwide, including the Art Institute of Chicago; Arts Council, U.K.; British Council, U.K.; Dia Art Foundation, New York; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Kunstmuseum Bern; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Siegen, Germany; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; Nationalgalerie, Berlin; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and Tate Gallery, London. Riley lives and works in London.