Chant 2 (1967) by Bridget Riley

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Saturday, October 19, 2019 - 16:14

Chant 2 (1967) is one Bridget Riley’s earliest abstract paintings in full colour. When she reintroduced colour into her work in 1967, the artist left behind the forms that had appeared in her earlier black-and-white paintings and chose to work with the stripe instead.

Speaking of this choice, the artist comments: ‘I needed a neutral form to allow the energies of colour and relationships to develop on their own terms without being required to serve some other purpose, such as describing, identifying or even just ‘filling in’’.

In her colour paintings, Riley explores how different colours interact with and affect one another. While she was making studies for Chant 2, for example, the artist discovered that when red and blue stripes surround one another on a white background, they create two different kinds of violet, as well as – intermittently – a ‘fugitive’ yellow.

Bridget Riley, Chant 2, 1967 © Bridget Riley 2019. All rights reserved


I had given up the complexities of form in my black-and-white paintings, but I found that the principles that lay behind them – contrast, harmony, reversal, repetition, movement, rhythm, etc – could be recast in colour and with a new freedom.
Bridget Riley, 2009


Bridget Riley is at Hayward Gallery from Wednesday 23 October to Sunday 26 January.

Hayward Gallery is open 11am – 7pm every day except Tuesdays when the gallery is closed, with late night opening on Thursdays until 9pm.

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Bridget Riley is organised by the National Galleries of Scotland in partnership with Hayward Gallery.