Arras Suite Mauve

Liz Rideal (1954 - )

Collaged colour photographs


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© Liz Rideal

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  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Downing Street

    The term ‘arras’ used in the title of this photograph by Liz Rideal, is a reference to a richly embroidered tapestry that was often found in Tudor palaces and courts, including the Palace of Whitehall, the royal residence that once occupied the area where today’s seat of government sits. An arras would have both decorated an interior and retained heat in draughty Tudor buildings. Famously, in Act III, Scene IV of Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, the character Polonius hides behind an arras to eavesdrop on a conversation between Hamlet and his mother, Queen Gertrude, before he meets his own accidental death at the hands of Hamlet.

    The allusion to a textile is deftly made In Rideal’s work in which each of the small squares appears to be a tiny swatch of silk. The overall visual effect is reminiscent of a rippling quilted eiderdown. Arras Suite Mauve is composed of photographs of silk taken in a photo booth, which Rideal has collaged together to form a grid. When observed up close, each tiny image reveals a slightly crumpled expanse of mauve cloth, while seen from a distance, the 784 purple squares fuse into one sumptuous, vibrant field. Arras Suite Mauve is from a series of grids that include Blue, Rose, Yellow and Chocolate: the mauve in this case is a subtle reference to the Suffragette movement and the rights that they won for women at the voting booth.  

    Rideal began exploring the possibilities of photo booths as a form of creating images from the 1990s, using fabric rather than people as her subjects. Creating monochromatic grids from coloured drapery, her works formally reference the mid-twentieth century tradition of colour field painting in the USA. Originally trained as a painter, Rideal’s use of grids and repetitive elements also acknowledge the influential 20th century art movements of Modernism and Minimalism. 

  • About the artist
    Liz Rideal lives and works in London and is currently Professor of Fine Art at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL. She received a BA in Fine Arts and English Literature from Exeter University in 1976. Working in photography, film and installation, she has exhibited her work extensively around the world since the early 1980s, including solo shows at Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester; the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; the John Cabot University, Rome; and the Lucas Schoormans Gallery, New York, among others. Rideal’s commissioned works include Hawthorn Hall of Mirrors 454308E-205690N, at Churchill Hospital, Oxford (2008) and Verdure, a tapestry commission for Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh (2007). Her work is represented in numerous international public and private collections including Tate, London; National Portrait Gallery, London; Arts Council Collection, London; Museet for Fotokunst, Denmark; Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris; and Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada; and the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, USA.
  • Explore
    grid, abstract
  • Details
    Arras Suite Mauve
    Collaged colour photographs
    height: 152.00 cm, width: 123.00 cm
    Purchased from the artist, January 1999
    GAC number