Bagatelle 2 is a signed screen print by the renowned Op Art pioneer Bridget Riley. Executed in 2015 and released in a limited edition of 75, Bagatelle 2 is composed of triangles that appear to zig-zag across the page. Wavy lines along the edges of several triangles create movement and the sense of vibration: it is this suggestion of movement that has led Op Art to also be called Kinetic Art. Bagatelle 2 is an important work in Riley’s oeuvre and, executed in 2015, is a nod to the black and white works of her early career for which she first gained recognition.
Bagatelle 2 is typical of Riley’s work, which explores the dynamic potentialities of optical phenomena. Less dizzying than other prints, Bagatelle 2 still succeeds in disorientating the viewer, as the two-dimensional, triangular shapes appear in motion on the canvas. Riley’s compositions are the result of meticulous measurements and preparatory sketches, which are then given to her assistants who paint the artworks under Riley’s strict instruction. Riley relies heavily on these preparation stages, particularly drawing, recognising it as “an exercise in looking”. The intense, controlled precision of Riley’s art and its formal logic seem to allow for a wild, synaesthetic freedom.