Brian Eno
77 Million Paintings

Curators Notes, Patrick T. Murphy, RHA Director:

Over 30,000 people visited the RHA in January and February 2019 to view the Brian Eno exhibition. It was a mesmeric installation turning the voluminous space of the main gallery into meditative and intimate environment. A multi-screen wall combined with rolling ambient music, carpeted floor and couches to draw people in to spend hours in the gallery and yielded many return visits.

For me, it was a powerful authentic symphony of the visual and the aural, and it was a little more… another chance to work with an artist after thirty-three years, a lifetime. I first presented Eno’s installations at the Douglas Hyde Gallery in the Spring of 1986. Then the TV’s were bulky diode tube, the VR was VHS tape, the sound system transistor, the environment was looser with the electronic glow from the TVs rolling through various colour wheels gently illuminating the darkened space. The audience response as I recall it was the same – long visits, repeat visits, allowing the immersive environment to take them into its charm.

Brian Eno, like many of the artists and artistes that broke through in the 1970s attended art college. With Eno the visual manifestation of his ambient music has always been an abiding preoccupation. The technological revolution of computing and digital technology has created a means for Eno to widen this palette and sophisticate the environments he creates. But in the end it is the simplicity of the experience that captivates – looking at changing colour and pattern in a darkened room while lounging in a couch listening to hypnotic music.

You can listen to 77 Million Paintings here

Exhibition Notes:

ADMISSION FREE – SUGGESTED DONATION €5. Donation can be made to donation box in the gallery. We thank you for your support.

Conceived by Eno as ‘visual music’, 77 Million Paintings, a constantly evolving sound and image-scape born from his continuous exploration into light as an artist’s medium and the aesthetic possibilities of generative software, will be installed at the RHA Gallery, January 2019. This ever-changing, large-scale music and light installation evolves slowly around the audience, who can relate to it as a conventional painting while aware that the same combination of images will never be seen again.

77 Million Paintings is an example of what Brian Eno calls ‘generative art’: “One of the things which strongly draws me to generative art is the idea that the thing is so big, in that there are so many variations, that not even the artist can see all the possibilities.

Since my first experiments with light and sound in the late 1960’s, I’ve never ceased to be fascinated by the amazingly intricate, complex and unpredictable results produced by simple deterministic systems. Out of simplicity, complexity arises. That is for me the most incredible idea of evolution theory and of cybernetics. John Cage once said: “The function of art is to imitate nature in her manner of operation” and that has been an objective for me throughout my working life.”

Musician, producer, visual artist, thinker and activist Brian Eno first came to international prominence in the early ‘70s as a founding member of Roxy Music, immediately followed by a series of critically praised and influential solo albums. His visionary production includes albums with Talking Heads, Devo, Laurie Anderson, U2 and Coldplay, whilst his long list of collaborations includes recordings with David Bowie, John Cale, David Byrne, Grace Jones, James Blake and many others.

Equally notable and arguably even more prolific are his visual experiments with light and video. These are the fertile ground from which so much of his other work has grown. They cover an even longer span of time than his recordings and have in recent decades paralleled his musical output. These highly-acclaimed works have been exhibited all over the globe – from the Venice Biennale and the Marble Palace in St. Petersburg to Beijing’s Ritan Park and the sails of the Sydney Opera House.

ADMISSION FREE – SUGGESTED DONATION €5. Donation can be made to donation box in the gallery. We thank you for your support.


Public Event

2 February, 1.30 – 4.30pm: Adult Workshop with Artist, Barry Cullen, Make your own light and sound device in response to Brian Eno, 77 Million Paintings


Artist Bio

Brian Peter George Eno, born 1948, is an English musician, record producer and visual artist. He is best known for his pioneering work in ambient music and contributions to rock, pop, electronic and generative music. A self-described “non-musician”, Eno has helped introduce a variety of conceptual approaches and recording techniques to contemporary music, advocating a methodology of “theory over practice, serendipity over forethought, and texture over craft” according to AllMusic. He has been described as one of popular music’s most influential and
innovative figures.

Born in Suffolk, Eno studied painting and experimental music at the art school at Ipswich Civic College in the mid 1960s and then at Winchester School of Art. He joined glam rock group Roxy Music as synthesiser player in 1971. After recording two albums with Roxy Music, he departed in 1973 to record a number of solo albums, coining the term “ambient music” to describe his work on releases such as Another Green World, 1975, Discreet Music, 1975, and Music for Airports, 1978. He also collaborated with artists such as Robert Fripp, Cluster, Harold Budd, David Bowie on his Berlin Trilogy, and David Byrne, and produced albums by artists including John Cale, Jon Hassell, Laraaji,Talking Heads and Devo, and the no wave compilation No New York, 1978.

Dating back to his time as a student, Eno has worked in various media including sound installations and his mid-70s co-development of Oblique Strategies, a deck of cards featuring cryptic aphorisms intended to spur creative thinking. An advocate of a range of humanitarian causes, Eno writes on a variety of subjects and is a founder member of the Long Now Foundation.


Image: Brian Eno, 77 Million Paintings, Image courtesy of the artist and Lumen London.


Bose Professional is delighted to support Brian Eno’s 77 Million Paintings exhibition at the RHA Gallery in Dublin. The Bose L1 Compact is the company’s most portable L1 system, featuring interlocking components which can be set up in less than a minute. The system combines PA and monitors into a single loudspeaker, producing exceptionally wide horizontal sound coverage and integrated signal processing. The user interface has been designed to be intuitive for the lay person, yet with advanced features for musicians. Placed either side of the twelve piece monitor wall, the Bose speakers deliver one track whilst individual playlists are played randomly from additional elevated pairs of speakers around the room to create an atmospheric soundscape that enhances the visual art and environment.

Big Bear Sound is delighted to be involved with the RHA’s exciting new exhibition 77 Million Paintings by Brian Eno and will be using Genelec Professional Monitoring throughout the installation. Established in 1995, Big Bear Sound has grown into Ireland’s leading professional audio-visual equipment company, specialising in consultancy, system design, equipment supply and installation for the Entertainment Industry and Education sectors including Recording Studios, Audio and Video Post-Production, Broadcast Radio and Television, Theatre & Live Events and Multimedia Production.