Temporal Stabilities



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4m2gallery, John Cabot University

Temporal Stabilities explores the constancy in temporal change: the interlacing of actions and associations, the resonance of haptic memories, and the layering of processes and histories. Ancient traces are not left unseen; rather, the work traces their presence like haunting memories. They reveal these metamorphic pasts through multi-layered references and an easy touch of complex artistry.

The seven works selected for exhibition constitute an amalgam of artistic methodology that in their hybrid forms conjure up cultural and temporal spaces through their use of color and textures. All the works were created in response to the visually extravagant marble Cosmatesque floors found in medieval churches throughout Rome, and each work explores this in a variety of processes and techniques.

The silk prints Flower Bomb (Santi Quattro Coronati, Rome), Etruscan Shield (Blue) and Seagrass, Annisquam transform the intricate floor patterns into evanescent, floating forms that questions the stabilities of materials and time – calling to mind both the histories of the quarried marbles, the history of the silk road trade, and the use of spolia as a statement of luxurious continuity. In the movement of the silk prints with the real-time currents of air, performing coloured silks move through the atmosphere, transforming these images from a momentary photographic state, to an apparent reanimation of the in-situ creative action by the artist.

The frottage watercolour drawings Medallion (Pontine), Medallion (Seagrass), and Etruscan Shield (Verdigris) similarly create and subvert the illusion of movement. The rubbings of the Cosmatesque floors may start as copies of patterns in wax and pastel on Japanese paper; however, by purposefully moving the paper during the process, a fleeting quality is created.

Like the presence of sitters in early photographs that moved during the process of capture, these works unveil patterns that are present yet intangible. Successive processes of soakings, printings, dragging, pressings and repainting wrests new textures from the paper in a layering of actions and gestures that echoes the transformative nature of the spolia floors.

The series is brought together a by glimmering gilded copper sphere, Denis’s Ball. A modest ballcock, originally part of an ancient water tank atop the National Portrait Gallery in London, this repurposed modern object is a prism for the show. Resting on top of a corbel where once stood a statue of the Madonna, Denis’s Ball alludes as much to a Christian royal orb as to Jeff Koon’s ‘gazing balls’ and its altering reflection offers an alternative process for viewing the stable non-linearity of time.

Introduction by Inge Lyse Hansen

Temporal Stabilities PV card
Temporal Stabilities press release
Temporal Stabilities catalogue
Temporal Stabilities poster

Feu Follet


Feu Follet

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The Old Crypt, St.John’s Waterloo
16 November- 9 December 2018

An exhibition of large-scale water colours on rag paper and digital photographic prints on silk, displayed in conjunction with Let’s Sway: Under the Serious Sunlight, a film of silk moving underwater. Shown in connection with Feu Follet, focusing on the ambiguous and offering momentary glimpses of fleeting subject matter. The brief trails of seemingly airborne colour appeared to arrest time in the atmospheric space. The ‘below ground’ projection mimicked the filmed underwater silk ballet. Adjacent piles of seaweed added whiffs of briny smell and these in turn grew blooms of mould.

Photographs document the ambiguity of atmosphere and space in the crypt with layered views of the large water colours seen through the digital prints. The installation was accompanied by an artist’s book of related works accompanied by a text discussing the Pontine Marshes by Florian Mussgnug.

Feu Follet photographs with active cloths ‘performing’ in the same manner as those depicted in the hanging silk prints obscure, interact and cast shadows adding a new dimension to the resultant imagery. The perception of space is manipulated, and the colours of the paintings influenced.

Let’s Sway (under the serious sunlight)
Exhibition catalogue
Press release

Terme di Diocleziano


Monterano 3

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UCL Art Museum
January – June 2017

Through its implied narrative, this silk triptych exposes the different properties of real and sculpted cloth. The juxtaposition of the individual images creates a visual syncopation that is in tune with the action of the cloth caught in motion. While the stone speaks through the permanently carved folds so the transparent fabric reveals an instantaneous ballet. Caught in variable lighting the sequence of three poses, are in turn translucent or visible, the central panel serendipitously darker, reinforcing its full frontal image as a natural anchor.

Exhibition information
UCL blog
Marble and Silk by Alexander Massouras

Checkmate Squared



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Shared, West Wing, Somerset House
10-13 September 2015

CHECK-MATE SQUARED was an innovatory and a unique way of raising money for charity, created for The Macmillan De’Longhi Arts Programme. Investigating the possibilities of a digital rather than analogue booth and creating a large work that appeared to be a woven design made up (on closer inspection) of participants portraits in strips of 4, captured against alternative backgrounds of black and white. deavanagan.com.

Participants joined in the creation of the artwork when they donated money in order to become the basic components of that art. Using a photo-booth to record portraits of the people wishing to become patrons, I reprised certain aspects of public art work with which I made my name in the 1980s. This digital experiment proved equally successful with added financial benefit for Macmillan.

The show included another retrospective element, shown in addition to period analogue photo-booth pieces were a suite of digital works displayed within the grand rooms in enfilade in the West Wing of Somerset House, Strand. As a result of this exhibition, Palazzo Spada (cat) joined the British Academy Collection and became the subject for discussion by Professor Martin Kemp, British Academy Pictures Committee. britac.ac.uk.

Other exhibiting artists were Stephen Chambers, Eloise Fornieles, Idris Khan, Alastair Mackie, Annie Morris, Humphrey Ocean, Gavin Turk, Bouke de Vries, Richard Wentworth, Hugo Wilson, and Richard Wilson, all of whom devised ways to ‘break down’ their works to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support. This fundraising exhibition provided collectors with the rare opportunity to buy and own an element of a single major artwork.

Exhibition guide
Private view



Ghostly Emanations I - IV, 2014 Photograms on silk, 2014, 30 x 20 cm, Installation photograph, Stuart Rome

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Gallery 339
26 November – 22 November 2014

Images evoking lightness, mutability and the subtle shifts of changing abstract forms in space.

In her exhibition FREEFALL, Rideal showed photographs, photo-booth prints, photograms, and video exploring her interest in how drapery and water share a sense of movement and form, and how light plays similarly across the surface of both. On view were photographs from the series “London Sails”, that document the infiltration of the solid and seemingly static spaces of Wren and Hawksmoor with vivid swathes of fabric that spin and swirl through the geometry of architecture.

The video piece, Cloth Cascades, was shown as both an indoor and outdoor projection, combining images of cloth and water.

FREEFALL, was presented in conjunction with a catalogue that comprises an illustrated survey of Rideal’s work with cloth. This publication features essays by John Onians, Professor Emeritus of World Art at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, and Paul Hills, Professor Emeritus at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, together with an interview by Iwona Blazwick, Director of the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London.

Exhibition catalogue

Danzando con Borromini


Ghost: Oratorio dei Fillipini

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Hybrida Contemporanea

This series of photographs captures the decisive moment of cloth falling through space. The baroque ‘backdrops’ are predominantly by Borromini. The focus is on chance and the abstract shapes that occur when silks ‘perform’ in relation the force of gravity.

Borromini’s unique invention of architectural language became the perfect foil for the sublimated sexual energy of the ephemeral silks. The gauze veiled and revealed details of his buildings, suggesting a human presence by evoking fleeting figures.

The work was shown first at The British School at Rome 2008, Hybrida Contemporanea, Rome in 2010 and as part of Cities Methodologies in London 2010, and continues to be shown.

Martin Kemp FBA on Dancing with Borromini, Palazzo Spada



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Galleri Arnstedt
Östra Karup, Sweden

Unique sculptures derived from found materials and also made from plants and trees sometimes from Rideal’s central London garden. Made predominantly from wood, objects are burnt out into bronze or cast from moulds in other metals like silver and aluminium. These works often function in company to form larger pieces. Life size.

Suc des Vosges


Suc des Vosges, NY

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Lucas Schoormans Gallery
New York
January 26 – March 4, 2006

For her third solo exhibition at Lucas Schoormans Gallery, British artist Liz Rideal presents a suite of photo-collages and collage-based works, all created in 2005. Rideal continues her signature practice of organizing each composition according to a grid comprised of the modular four-frame strips issued by commercial photo-booths. The artist also will debut Suc des Vosges, 2005, her latest film and the first to be shown in the U.S. The near-abstract footage was shot near the mountain village of Le Valtin in France.

The roughly one dozen works on view include collages of photo-strips in black-and-white and in color, among which are several multi-panel works. New to Rideal’s formal syntax are all-white vertical framing elements, photo-strips that essentially represent pure light. Also new to her practice is the location at which the black-and-white component strips were shot: a photo-booth provided at the manufacturer’s facility in Zurich. For the exhibition, a group of the black-and-white works have been enlarged as silver prints on Ilford paper. Using the commercial photo-booth as her camera for two decades, Rideal has recast the popular apparatus as a private site of disciplined performance. In the resulting pictures, certain configurations (the saw-toothed silhouettes of nettle leaves, the stark graphic patterns of cast-bronze roots) may seem wholly rehearsed, while others (the buoyant, flaring poses assumed by tossed panels of sheer fabric) may seem blithely improvised. Yet in all cases, once a sequence has been initiated, each frame’s composition must be engineered in the brief pause between the pre-timed activations of the machine’s shutter and flash. Editing begins in the booth and concludes in the collage.

Rideal’s featured “performers” further personalize the mechanical enterprise: the plant elements have been gathered in the artist’s London garden, the fabrics acquired on her travels. And theatricality is not a casual reference point for Rideal. The curtained cubicle of the photo-booth is suggestive of a marionette stage—the ballets des pantins referenced in some of her titles—where the artist, like the puppet master, crafts an illusion while remaining just out of sight.

Suc des Vosges

Above and Below Ground


Wyang Kulit

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Gallery 339
February 2006

The photo booth is a strange place. It’s secretive, claustrophobic, and must be a kind of heaven for the narcissist, like a guest bathroom with an immense mirror.

And let’s not forget the thrill of instant gratification. No wonder Andy Warhol, that most voyeuristic of artists, was among the first to explore its potential. It is also a relic of our futuristic coin-operated past, like the juke box, the phone booth, the automat (which originated in Philadelphia) – C20th century inventions that were intended to make life more convenient for all. This is the nostalgic photo-booth, the one that Liz Rideal has been using as her studio of sorts for the last 20 years.

Instead of photographing herself or her friends Warhol-style, Rideal, who was trained as a painter, creates portraits of fabric and flowers in front of the automatically operated camera’s lens. The resulting images bring to mind colour versions of Muybridge’s studies of motion or 19th century botanical cyanotypes. Her gridlike collage arrangements of her photo-booth strips are thoroughly contemporary, however, as are her C-print enlargements of individual images.

Rideal’s one-of-a-kind photo-strip compositions, which dominate her first one-person exhibition at Gallery 339, are the more original and visually arresting of these two kinds of work. Her two editioned portraits of plants and flowers, while intriguing because they were made in a photo-booth but don’t look it (they’re vastly enlarged versions of single images from photo-booth strips), seem big for the sake of big.

In her unique pieces, Rideal’s juxtapositions of serial images can simultaneously suggest the movement of film through a projector, high-rise apartment building, Bridget Riley’s dizzying paintings, and even Donald Judd’s glowing aluminium-and-Plexiglas boxes.

Warhol’s serial photo-booth portraits were one thing. Rideal has transformed the photo-booth strip into an idiosyncratic art of her own.

Edith Newhall, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 17 February 2006

Tango Two


Ballet 1

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Hackelbury Fine Art

Mandrake Tango bronzes installed with Auroras of Autumn monotypes. Anthropomorphic bronzes against ‘backcloth’ of tarlatan prints.

Whatever the medium, the up-ended root species from Rideal’s London garden go beyond fixed limits to occupy the imagination. Assembled singly, in pairs, threes or foursomes, like inspired performers, they freely adopt likely poses or strike up attitudes in a joyously varied ritual dance against a variety of real and simulated backdrops. Beyond Rideal’s concern with photographic process as much as natural form, here are potent metaphors for alchemy, renewal, sex, permanence, transience and death.
Richard Pincent, The Art Newspaper, March 2003

Mandrake Tango catalogue
Amherst Press

Works 1992 – 2002


Sunny Gardens (Flag)

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University Gallery
University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA

This exhibition combined new Mandrake Tango works, sculpture, monotypes and c-types with a retrospective of photographs 1992-2002.

University Gallery, Amherst, Mass. Let’s begin this consideration of the work of British artist Liz Rideal by reflecting on the significance of two disparate objects: plant roots and photo-booths. They are homely, ordinary, hardly the precious stuff of fine art. But they are central to Rideal’s oeuvre, a survey of which is on view at the University Gallery, Amherst. The roots appear as sculpture and as photographic subject her latest work. The remains of Night Scented Stock, pulled from her London garden at the end of the growing season, they assumed new life when Rideal, recognising the artistic potential of their energetic forms, cast them in bronze. Transformed and arranged in groupings, they call to mind other states of being. “Mandrake Tango” renders the essence of the dance, its two root systems executing an exaggerated step.

Given the formal element of the objects – linear, spiralling, entwining – the implications become visible. Dynamic forms echo the natural life force that roots contain and symbolise. A swelling line calls to mind the volumes of a human body; tendrils might be swinging strands of hair or gesturing arms.

The installation places the sculpture before a series of large monoprints on handmade paper. Their gauzy, atmospheric imagery contributes to the metaphor. These “Auroras of Autumn” evoke shadowy, damp, low sunlight or smudges of dirt. Smeary ink stains along the edges announce the process and the presence of the artist.

That evidence of the creative act suffuses the photo-booth work, which originated in the early 1990s when Rideal adopted that commonplace apparatus as artistic tool. Seeing the possibilities inherent in repetitive strips of photograph, she photographed her own hands and arms so that, out of context, they appear as abstract black marks on a white ground. Then she assembled the prints, rotated and arranged them into grids and built composite images. “Le Balcon”, for instance, seems to be a wrought iron balcony railing in silhouette.

Following that initial phase, Rideal began to attach coloured backdrops to the wall of the photo-booth. Then she introduced into the camera’s gaze length of sheer fabric in various colours: red, blue, yellow, green, orange, purple, white, either tossing them into the booth or adjusting them in layers against the back wall. The veils become rainbows, responding to the colour of the wall and an outside light source; against black in “Thunder Smoke 4”. they glow; against blue in “Blue Fall 3” they float, seemingly , underwater.

In that group, she isolated and enlarged individual pictures, and re-photographed the composite as a C-print. In another series, “Arras Suite Chocolate” as an example she assembled the original strips of tiny prints into a large collage whose repeating motifs construct subtle, shifting patterns.

When Rideal introduced plant material to the photo-booth, she also alternated her process. The root in the C-print “Nigella” materialises as a large shadow. In the collage of photo-booth strips, “Fantin Latour Homage”‘ a bouquet wavers between truths, simultaneously visible and concealed with the rhythmic pattern of the grid. Here again, Rideal conjures up an enigma to challenge our perceptions of reality.
Gloria Russell, Sunday Republican 6 October 2002

University of Massachusetts

Photographs 1996 -1998


Lucas Schoormans Gallery, New York

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Lucas Schoormans Gallery
New York

For 15 years Liz Rideal has made the photo-booth, that popular dispenser of instant mug shots, her primary tool. Many artists have toyed with low-budget technology but few have explored its formal possibilities so extensively as the British photographer, who is having her first New York solo show.

Early on Ms Rideal departed from the conventional photo booth portrait Works from 1996 to 1998, on show here, focus on colored fabrics that the artist manipulates before the cameras’s unwavering eye, producing a kind of photographic update of Color Field painting. In the best works here, she collages hundreds of the four-shot strips into large grids. Up close in “Arras Suite Red” you can see each little picture shows a slightly crumpled expanse of red cloth. From a distance, more than 800 little red squares coalesce into a lush, vibrating field.

In other works, Ms. Rideal re-photographs photo booth strips and makes montages of enlarged frames, “Green Veil,” which measures about 4 by 20 feet is a grid of two dozen frames, each a different image of translucent green chiffon floating, fluttering or twisting against a white background. (In one frame, the artist’s fingers appear, revealing off-camera performance). These are less richly concentrated than the collages made from the original strips, but they have an elegant interplay of sensuous fluidity and rhythmic order.
Ken Johnson, New York Times, Art in Review 11 August 2000

The original owner of Courbet’s L’Origine du monde, the first known “crotch shot” in the history of art, kept the painting in his library behind a green curtain in order to veil the work from inappropriate eyes. In a similar vein, the Marilyn Chambers porn classic Behind the Green Door touched upon themes of concealment. Between them, these two examples run the cultural gamut from high to low (or low to lower, depending on your point of view), but in both cases, green ends up being the colour of choice for masking the forbidden. All of which comes to mind when viewing the most commanding work in London-based artist Liz Rideal’s first solo show in New York: a horizontal photographic grid depicting a diaphanous green fabric’s fall over the course of several frames. The images are dreamy enough, a cloth floats through darkened space. Yet the work, like its companions around the gallery documents the artist’s repetitive gesture of tossing a single piece of fabric in a photo booth (green, in fact, is just one colour in a palette that flirts with erotic associations of the seen and unseen). Rideal either painstakingly adheres these images to create large grids or enlarges individual frames into something that achieves the impact of minimalist colour-field painting. However rigid or mechanical her method, the results are invariably beautiful and highly sensual. No doubt influenced by Muybridge’s motion studies as well as by Warhol’s work with the lowly photo booth, Rideal creates images that are as original as they are dynamic. Occasionally, a hand or a bit of the artist’s arm appears in a photograph. But for the most part, the artist leaves us to fantasize about what might lie behind the veil.
Sarah Gavlak, Time Out New York, 31 August – 7 September 2000

English artist Rideal’s first New York solo show is full of colour images of fabric taken in a photo booth – romantic, minimalist work that mixes the formality and ephemerality of Agnes Martin’s pictures with the curvy, textile-draped femininity of Veronese’s. In “Arras Suite Red,” hundreds of four-picture photo strips mounted together create a Muybridge-like meditation on the movement of a piece of Indian silk. For “Pig’s Ear,” pink fabric someralults across a black background, inanimate, but somehow loaded with playful and lyrical humanity.
The New Yorker, Photography, August 21 and 28, 2000

Catalogue with essays by Professor Bryony Fer and Professor Anna Moszynska, click here
Review in Fibre Arts Magazine