Swiss-born German artist Paul Klee (1879–1940) is known for many things, one of them being the profound influence he had on the works of Bridget Riley. Affiliated with the Bauhaus, his writings and artwork were essential in Riley’s development of her own theories of abstraction. Differentiating them from academic exercises, Riley turned to see abstraction as a beginning: a starting point in painting, not an end. In an article for The Guardian from 2002, Riley writes, “Every painter starts with elements – lines, colours, forms – which are essentially abstract in relation to the pictorial experience that can be created with them.” Essentially, abstraction serves as the foundation of visual art, and is an opening for further understanding and imaginative play.
This inversion of origin and process of “generating the visual” became a focal point of study for Riley in the 1980s and 1990s, a moment in her career that is currently on view in David Zwirner’s London gallery. Selected by Riley herself, the works will be exhibiting until July 31, with late pieces from the Klee family’s collection displayed concurrently throughout the first two floors. This artist-led show is available by appointment only – an intimate art experience for an intimate exhibition. While there are many ways Klee’s writings and work played a formative role in her development, we think it’s best to let the artist and the art speak for themselves.