“Looking is, I feel, a vital aspect of existence. Perception constitutes our awareness of what it is to be human, indeed what it is to be alive.” – Bridget Riley
I am so fortunate to be in London during a full retrospective at the Hayward Gallery of one of my favourite artists, Bridget Riley. She’s 88 years old now and still going strong, so seeing such a remarkable body of work in one space spanning 1947 to 2019 was truly inspirational.
To some, her black and white mind-bending and visually charged paintings are too much to take in, certainly challenging to look at for any length of time (they positively pulse with wave-like energy), but seeing them all together in the brutalist and cavernous space of the Hayward really makes a powerful impact. Her bold, colourfully vibrant and graphic works feel so familiar, perhaps because she’s been so influential to many a graphic designer, artist and architect over the decades. When you step outside you start to see Riley’s influence in the most surprising of spaces.
Meanwhile across town I was drawn to the Antony Gormley show at the RA but ultimately put off, not just by the £24.50 ticket price, but by the snaking queues. I’d also been told by several people that it took all of 8 minutes to see the show! I really wanted to see this, but in the last few days (it closes 3rd December) there are just a handful of timed slots left, and the thought of spending 8 minutes in a pushing crowd didn’t really appeal.