Bridget Riley. The National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, July 2019.

Posting images from the Antony Gormley and Olafur Eliasson shows reminded me that I had taken pictures in the Bridget RIley show in Edinburgh, which is currently at the Hayward Gallery in London.

Apparently Riley expressly wanted people in the exhibition to be able to take photographs. I loved the exhibiton – I went several times – but the work was quite visually intense, and few of the paintings benefited from having their pictures taken.

I chatted to a couple of the servitors – the gallery’s attendants – about the show. Apparently one of them fainted early in the run after staring at one of the images for too long. It was easy to feel seasick looking at the paintings.

“Continuum” is half way between painting and sculpture, painted on a spiral surface. Many of Riley’s paintings create an effect of three dimensions; “Contnuum” actually is 3d.

My favourite picture was “Rajastan” (pictured below), which was painted directly on the wall. The label said it was on loan from a gallery in Switzerland. I asked how, since it was painted on the wall, it had been loaned. It was an incredibly accurate recreation, identical to the original, made by Riley’s studio especially for the show. For the duration of the exhibition, the original in Switzerland was covered, so that there was only one copy of the work at any time. (Presumably if it is in the Hayward Gallery, the same applies.)

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