Bridget Riley, Thomas Struth et al.
Oil: Beauty and Horror In The Petrol Age (group show)
Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg
4 September 2021 – 9 January 2022
No other substance has shaped societies in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries as much as petroleum. Airplanes, tanks, and spacecraft, motorways, shopping malls and suburban settlements, nylon stockings, mountains of plastic, and vinyl – key materials and technologies, lifestyles and visions of our time owe their existence to the energy density and transformability of oil. Now, however, the dusk of the “petrol age” is looming, whereby neither can its end be precisely dated, nor its consequences adequately assessed. The exhibition Oil. Beauty and Horror in the Petrol Age therefore takes a speculative, poetic look back at the presence of the modern age of petroleum, which has lasted for roughly one hundred years. From the distance of a hypothetical future, we ask what was typical of our time, what was great and beautiful, what was ugly and terrible, and how all this is reflected in art and culture.
Fundamental here is the observation of a deep conflict: In the oil boom of the 1950s and 1960s, gasoline and kerosene, plastic, asphalt, and synthetic fibers stood for the futuristic promises of boundless mobility, individual freedom, and unrestricted transformability. Today, they are associated with global battles over resources, mountains of waste, and global warming, as well as sea and air pollution.
The exhibition focuses on all this from a fictitious archaeological distance and at the same time seeks a thematic and emotional proximity: Beyond entrenched ideology, it confronts works of art with natural science and technology, politics and everyday life, with knowledge, practices, and apparatus from chemistry, drilling, and geology, from daily working life and pop culture, from industry and cultural theory. Well-known and lesser-known works of art from the canon of Western modernism, as well as from oil-producing regions around the globe, are reappraised in the black mirror of oil and placed in relation to current artistic positions.
The exhibition focuses on the decades between the end of the Second World War and today. The cultural, technical, and geological constellations presented range, however, from the Middle Ages and antiquity to the early history of culture and life, while at the same time anticipating developments that may extend hundreds or even thousands of years into the future.
In this way, the exhibition presents the world’s first retrospective of the global modern age of petroleum.
Working Drawings (publication)
Thames & Hudson has published Bridget Riley: Working Drawings, the first-ever book dedicated to the celebrated British artist’s working drawings. This volume richly illustrates the thinking that goes into Riley’s work through a selection of over 150 drawings, colour analyses, notations, scale studies and cartoons, most of which were exhibited at the artist’s recent seminal retrospective exhibitions in Edinburg and London from 2019 to 2020 organized by the National Galleries of Scotland. The selection spans most of Riley’s working life, tracing the origins and evolving nature of her remarkable body of work. Riley’s beginnings are also documented through selected childhood drawings, work made during and immediately following her studies at Goldsmiths’ College and the Royal College of Art, and her early explorations into abstraction.
The artist’s working method is brought into high relief in a newly commissioned conversation with Riley and Sir John Leighton, Director of the National Galleries of Scotland. The text explores the cardinal moments in the artist’s practice and the impulses that bring her work into existence. The volume also includes four previously published texts dedicated to Riley’s studies and practice written by the artist herself, art historians, curators and museum directors, which shed further light on the enduring role of drawing and the process of exploration central to her work.
Get your copy here.
Bridget Riley et al.
Light: Works from Tate’s Collection (group show)
Museum of Art Pudong, Shanghai
8 July – 14 November 2021
The Museum of Art Pudong is delighted to announce that it will present the exhibition Light as part of its inauguration in Shanghai. This major exhibition will comprise more than 100 works from Tate, which holds the United Kingdom’s national collection of British art from 1500 to the present day and international modern and contemporary art.
Light explores how artists have, in every conceivable media, exploited the contrasts between light and dark found in nature and the built environment, opposed cool and warm colours, drawn on science and plumbed the depths of their imaginations in attempts to capture the transient effects and harness the emotional associations of light.
The exhibition begins with Tate’s historic British holdings and traces the theme of light across the breadth of the international collection. Light will feature some of the most renowned works in Tate’s collection, including John Constable’s Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows (1831); JMW Turner’s pair of paintings Light and Colour (Goethe's Theory) (1843) and Shade and Darkness (1843); John Martin’s The Destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum (1822), William Holman Hunt’s The Awakening Conscience (1853); Claude Monet’s The Seine at Port-Villez (1894) and Wassily Kandinsky’s Swinging (1925). Contemporary interventions by artists such as Dan Flavin, James Turrell, Anish Kapoor, Tacita Dean, Olafur Eliasson, Bridget Riley and Yayoi Kusama among others, feature within the exhibition’s broadly chronological narrative, demonstrating how an interest in the qualities of light connects great artists from across the centuries and around the world.
Museum of Art Pudong
Thomas Struth et al.
Von Erde schöner. The collection of the MGKSiegen (group show)
Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen, Siegen
28 May 2021 – 13 February 2022
The new presentation of the museum’s collection, “Von Erde schöner” (Prettier from Earth), continues the dialogue between the Lambrecht-Schadeberg Collection and the Contemporary Art Collection at MGKSiegen which began last year. The title of the exhibition is borrowed from Peter Piller’s photo series of the same name. The winner of the Rubens Promotional Award (2004) has developed his own fields of collection from a firm’s estate comprising 20,000 aerial photographs of German single-family homes. In a similar way, “Von Erde schöner” seeks connecting threads within our own collection, so highlighting a special interest in spatial themes.
The relations between natural and artificial landscapes, the relationships between people, architecture and places, and the construction of pictorial space play a role, as well as questions of distance, proximity and our personal perceptions of space. “Von Erde schöner” undertakes a cartography of the museum’s own collection. Works by Thomas Struth are included.
Bridget Riley et al.
Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life (group show)
The Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield
21 May 2021 – 27 February 2022
In summer 2021, to mark The Hepworth Wakefield’s 10th anniversary, the gallery will organise the largest exhibition of Barbara Hepworth’s work since the artist’s death in 1975.
The exhibition will present an in-depth view of the Wakefield-born artist’s life, interests, work and legacy. It will display some of Hepworth’s most celebrated sculptures including the modern abstract carving that launched her career in the 1920s and 1930s, her iconic strung sculptures of the 1940s and 1950s, and large-scale bronze and carved sculptures from later in her career. Key loans from national public collections will be shown alongside works from private collections that have not been on public display since the 1970s, and rarely seen drawings, paintings and fabric designs. It will reveal how Hepworth’s wide sphere of interests comprising music, dance, science, space exploration, politics and religion, as well as events in her personal life, influenced her work.
Contemporary artists Tacita Dean and Veronica Ryan have been commissioned to create new works which will be presented within the exhibition. Each artist will explore themes and ideas that interested Hepworth and that continue to resonate with their own work. Art works by Bridget Riley from the 1960s will also be presented in dialogue with Hepworth’s work from the same period.
The Hepworth Wakefield
Archive Matrix Assembly: The Photography of Thomas Struth 1978–2018 (publication)
Archive Matrix Assembly: The Photography of Thomas Struth 1978–2018 presents the first comprehensive, systematic theory of Thomas Struth’s main body of photographic work from its beginnings in the late 1970s until his most recent work in 2018. The book presents a unique, evolutionary understanding of the work, proposing that it has established three stages of production: archive, matrix, and assembly. Together the three stages form a developmental system that characterizes the individual photographs, their relation to their subject matter, and how they form larger, significant collections of images. The book project accomplishes three main goals: it develops a comprehensive critical reading of the work, it serves as a monograph of the artist, and it provides an extensive analysis of the photographs at all stages, including the less discussed, more recent photography, which is placed on par with the earlier work for which Struth first became internationally renowned.
Order a copy here.
Intervals 1, 2019
recently acquired by the National Gallery of Ireland
We are pleased to announce that Bridget Riley's Intervals 1, 2019, is now part of the collection of the National Gallery of Ireland.
National Gallery of Ireland
Messengers (wall painting)
The National Gallery, London
From 17 January 2019
See Messengers, a new large-scale wall painting by Bridget Riley: one of the most important artists of her generation.
The title, Messengers, is inspired by a phrase Constable used when referring to clouds, and might also be an allusion to the numerous angels, bearers of news, that we see in the skies of so many National Gallery pictures.
Painted directly onto the wall of the Annenberg Court and spanning a vast 10 x 20 metres, the abstract work, comprised of coloured discs, carries influences from our historic collection over into the 21st century. Throughout art history, harmonies of colour have played a large part in pictorial composition.Taking as a point of departure the paintings of George Seurat, in particular Bathers at Asnières, Bridget Riley’s 'Messengers' transforms the Annenberg Court into a great white space in which coloured discs float as clouds drift in the lanes of the sky. By leaving after-images on the viewer's retina that suggest volume and movement the longer it is perceived, the work becomes a tribute to its artistic predecessors and to the process of looking at art itself.
Bridget Riley (born 1931) has a long-standing relationship with the Gallery; she made copies of paintings in the collection including Jan van Eyck’s Portrait of a Man (Self Portrait?), 1433, as a teenager as part of her portfolio when applying to Goldsmiths College, London, just after the end of the Second World War, and Georges Seurat's Bathers at Asnières while training as an artist.
In 1989 Riley was invited to select that year’s Artist’s Eye exhibition and between 2010 and 2011 the Gallery held her acclaimed exhibition Bridget Riley: Paintings and Related Work.
The National Gallery, London