Bridget Riley at the Hayward Gallery

Circumstances require me to travel back to Dublin via London today, so I took the opportunity to spend an hour or so at the wonderful Bridget Riley retrospective at the Hayward Gallery. The exhibition is on until January 26th and I recommend it very enthusiastically.

I took a few pictures, but none of them give an adequate impression of the experience of seeing them in the flesh.

These three deceptively simple compositions made from coloured stripes play with the eye’s colour perception, seeming to change in texture and hue as the observer changes position or viewing angle.

The “rhomboid” pictures like this one November use changes in colour to disrupt the brain’s interpretation of the two-dimensional nature of the painting. The rhombi seem to rise and fall, the surface buckling as a result.

From the black and white collection this is Movement in Squares which uses simple changes in shape to imply depth, but also creates a visual instalibity to the perception is not of a static image.

This (Drift 2) generates a twisting effect on that makes you feel quite dizzy!

This one from 2017 is untitled and is simultaneously the least successful to be photographed and one of the most successful to view in person. It is very large – about 4 metres by 2 metres – and the circles filled with colour seem to jump about in your field of vision with every slight change of eyeline!

There are many more treats to experience in this exhibition which is highly recommended.

2 Responses to “Bridget Riley at the Hayward Gallery”

  1. Hi Prof. Coles,

    You certainly have an eye for attention-grabbing modern digital art, some of which can also be classified as optical art, which you can learn a great deal at my special post published at

    In this post, I have categorized thoroughly various optical illusions and included hundreds of examples. Hence, this post will take a while to load completely, and will benefit from being viewed on a large screen of a desktop and laptop computer, since the post could be too powerful and feature-rich for iPad, iPhone, tablet or other portable devices to handle properly or adequately.

  2. The Drift 2 is pretty dizzy-making!

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