South London Girls

I got stood up again for a visit to a gallery. My friend Steve had succumbed to a lurgy and was confined to bed. So for a second time this week I visited an exhibition alone, for the second time this week I enjoyed it immensely.

Bridget Riley


There were more coincidences. Reading the biog of Bridget Riley (it was her exhibition at the Hayward I went to today) I saw she was born in west Norwood. Quant was born in Blackheath. So they were both south London girls. Both received part of their art education at Goldsmiths, just three years apart.

That may not seem much of a story, but compared to the nonsense being bleated about a ‘crisis’ in the royal family with the Sussexes deciding to relocate and withdraw from public life, or the desire of some deranged few to mark Doomsday with the sound of Big Ben, it’s mega. I’m being more than a touch unfair about the royal story, but the one that the tabloids seem keen to deny is that they have kept up a relentless stream of negative stories about Meghan Markle all characterised by an unsavoury flavour of racism.

Anyway back to the art. Riley’s work is mesmerising, and makes my eyes go funny. It’s meticulous and cerebral, yet playful and perceptive.
I love this spiral, it seems to twirl and shimmer. It feels alive, changing, moving as you look. I forgot to take my camera, only had my ‘phone, and now I have reduced the size of the photo files, they’re not as sharp as I’d like.

Spiral

Spiral: detail

How does an artist conceive of something like this? Fortunately we got a little insight.

Spiral plan

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London, My London

The traffic was held up by an Orangemen’s march today. It happens every summer. Lots of drums and whistles, and as many union flags as you saw at the Jubilee.

I waited patiently at the bus stop for the traffic to settle. Some middle aged men on Vespas approached. the Vespas had French number plates. After a lull, more Vespas, this time with Italian number plates, then some Belgian ones and some British one. There must be a convention somewhere.

I waited a little less patiently as the wind whipped up and the sky threatened. A stranger approached me and said he did not think the buses were running. It added up. I walked along the Embankment. I was regretting not having a camera with me. A group of cyclists dressed in matching orange lycra were posing for a photograph with the Eye as a back drop.

A swathe of skateboarders came from the direction of Trafalgar Square, weaving round bollards, riding under the Jubilee Bridges. Then they were gone. Several rollerbladers came along the pavement. It seemed that they might be heading to their own event.

On the north side of Waterloo Bridge, a group of young men practised an acrobatic display, using the architecture for props. By the National Theatre the Inside Out season continued. There’s a bar made from props. I took a picture last week. It was built by my friend Jen’s brother.

Propstore Bar

The climbing figures on the hayward Gallery remind me of the puppets in the stage production of War Horse.

Climbing Figures Hayward Gallery

And who could resist this cement mixer? Continue reading