Gilbert & George NEW NORMAL PICTURES Gilbert & George NEW NORMAL PICTURES

Gilbert & George NEW NORMAL PICTURES

Until 31 July 2021
Paris Pantin
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Every single one of these pictures, like all of our art, is a visual love letter from us to the viewer.

  Gilbert & George

 

 

 

 

 

Created over the past two years, Gilbert & George's NEW NORMAL PICTURES are a continuation of their street-level explorations of modern life from their home and studio in London. As they once said, 'There is nothing that happens in the world that doesn't happen in the East End first.' 

 

'We are asking "What is human life?" and making pictures about it,' the artists explain. They liken this visionary and moral journey to a modern-day Pilgrim's Progress, walking the streets and recording their observations in pictures that chart the past, the present and the future.

Watch Gilbert & George talk in their studio

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Watch Gilbert & George talk in their studio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The art of Gilbert & George is existential, conveying the intensity of constantly renewed normality. Their art is an active engagement with the nature of freedom and choice; with the volatility, alienation and randomness of modern life as it is bounded by technology, borderlines, and beliefs. 

 Michael Bracewell, 2021

 

Although these pictures predate the pandemic, they resonate with the universal experience of a 'new normal' over the past year as we have all adjusted to a fundamental shift in our daily reality. However, the phrase has a broader significance for the artists, who see it as a stand-in for the word 'existential', referring to a sense of normality that is constantly being adjusted and renewed.

 

Gilbert & George
BAGRAVE, 2020
380 x 377 cm (149.61 x 148.43 in)
Mixed media

 

What we confront in our life is in our pictures, so we have all these subjects. Our subjects that are inside ourselves are part of universal thought: death, hope, life, fear, sex, money, race, religion, shittynaked, human, world. All the thoughts and feelings that lie inside everyone. And we never run out of subjects, because even getting old is an amazing subject. 

Gilbert & George

 

 

The clashing tonal contrasts and distortions of scale and perspective in these new pictures combine to form a vision of our world that is subtly off-kilter, not-quite-normal.

Places such as Moss Close or the cemetery at Christ Church Spitalfields, everyday sights such as bus stops and park benches, and even the familiar figures of the artists themselves are rendered uncanny and, in their own words, 'disturbing'.

Gilbert & George
BENCH TEST, 2020
254 x 377 cm (100 x 148.43 in)
Mixed media 

Gilbert & George
MOSS CLOSE, 2020
127 x 151 cm (50 x 59.5 in)
Mixed media

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They are witness-participants within the visionary world of their art; 
they become agents of the scenes they traverse. 

— Michael Bracewell, 2021

 

When they first moved to 12 Fournier Street over five decades ago, Gilbert & George rented the ground floor for £16 per month, which was all they could afford at the time. They later bought the building and restored its 18th-century features themselves. '...Fournier Street is the centre of the world for us.'

 

Gilbert & George
GROUND FLOOR, 2020
254 x 377 cm (100 x 148.43 in)
Mixed media

 

In CHAMPAGNE CHARLIE, the artists reference the title of a 19th-century music hall song popularised by George Leybourne. Another music hall classic, 'Underneath the Arches', formed the basis of their SINGING SCULPTURE in 1969 and much of their art evokes evoke musical associations.


Gilbert & George
CHAMPAGNE CHARLIE, 2020
227 x 317 cm (89.37 x 124.8 in)
Mixed media

 

When asked about the significance of the drug bags in their new pictures, the artists sang a refrain from 'The...
When asked about the significance of the drug bags in their new pictures, the artists sang a refrain from 'The...
When asked about the significance of the drug bags in their new pictures, the artists sang a refrain from 'The...

When asked about the significance of the drug bags in their new pictures, the artists sang a refrain from 'The Old Dope Peddler' (1953) by Tom Lehrer:

      When the shades of night are falling
      Comes a fellow ev'ryone knows
      It's the old dope peddler
      Spreading joy wherever he goes
      Ev'ry evening you will find him
      Around our neighbourhood
      It's the old dope peddler
      Doing well by doing good

      He gives the kids free samples
      Because he knows full well
      That today's young innocent faces
      Will be tomorrow's clientele
      Here's a cure for all your troubles
      Here's an end to all distress
      It's the old dope peddler
      With his powdered happiness

 

Gilbert & George
BAG DAY, 2020
254 x 528 cm (100 x 207.87 in)
Mixed media

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We don't believe too much in looking at sunsets – they say very little. You realise the reality is in the streets of London. Once a year we'll go up the hill to look at the sunset. But you have to come down to where life really is.

 Gilbert & George

 

 

In BALLOON STREET, the artists appear alongside the outsized forms of balloons used to inhale nitrous oxide. They had included the metal canisters of laughing gas their monumental  their monumental  SCAPEGOATING PICTURES, but decided against using the balloons at that time which the gas is inhaled 'because that would give a festive, jolly, party air to the pictures we certainly didn’t want. But now, we feel it's time to use balloons because they begin to speak of blow jobs and intercrural love, illegal rave parties at the moment and, of course, respirators. They seem to be just the job.'

Gilbert & George
BALLOON STREET, 2020
302 x 571 cm (118.9 x 224.8 in)
Mixed media

Gilbert & George HEART LANE, 2020 Mixed media, 60 panels 380 x 753 cm (149.61 x 296.46 in)

The central motif in 230V AC is one of the electric boxes which are so ubiquitous on city streets that most passers-by no longer even see them. Here, coloured pillar-box red and with the addition of royal crest and golden dog, the structure gains new visibility and cultural value.

 

Gilbert & George
230V AC, 2020
151 x 191 cm (59.45 x 75.2 in)
Mixed media

The notion of cultural value is also at stake in GOLD AND SILVER, which invokes the universally recognised worth of...

The notion of cultural value is also at stake in GOLD AND SILVER, which invokes the universally recognised worth of precious metals. The gold figurines behind bars include Jacob Epstein's Adam (1938–39) and a bathing nude, while silver versions of the infamous 17th-century Pissing Boy from a fountain in Brussels and a classical putto appear in the foreground. The artists characterise this as a 'collection of thoughts and feelings and actualities' that explore the socially and institutionally defined notions of vice, sin, sexual desire, immorality, virtue and value.

 

Gilbert & George
GOLD & SILVER, 2020
Mixed media 18 panels
227 x 317 cm (89,37 x 124,8 in)

 

 

Gilbert & George’s creative life was formed when they met as students at Saint Martin’s School of Art in 1967. The indivisibility of their art and everyday life was given early expression in their Living Sculptures from 1969, but it was not until two years later that they created the first of their landmark pictures. Simultaneously subject and object of their art, they declared in 1971: ‘Art is life and we create art for all.’ 

Their home and studio on Fournier Street has formed the epicentre of their art ever since, as Gilbert & George always said: 'We never want to show life or reflect life – we are creating pictures to form our tomorrows.' By relentlessly challenging social conventions and the artistic canon, their art has, in turn, radically transformed the landscape of contemporary art in Britain and the wider world.

 

Learn more about the artists

  

Watch a Studio Tour While working on NEW NORMAL PICTURES, Gilbert & George conducted a tour of their studio, sharing...

Watch a Studio Tour

While working on NEW NORMAL PICTURES, Gilbert & George conducted a tour of their studio, sharing their working process and the very specific details of this series. They also presented models and catalogues of their recent exhibitions, as well as other projects which are underway.

This studio tour is part of the Tea With Julia series. 

 

Discover Gilbert & George's signed catalogue and posters

Gilbert & George Catalogue: NEW NORMAL PICTURES
Gilbert & George: Catalogue: NEW NORMAL PICTURES
€ 20.00
Exhibition poster: NEW NORMAL PICTURES
Exhibition poster: NEW NORMAL PICTURES
€ 12.00
Exhibition poster: NEW NORMAL PICTURES
Exhibition poster: NEW NORMAL PICTURES
€ 12.00
Exhibition poster: NEW NORMAL PICTURES
Exhibition poster: NEW NORMAL PICTURES
€ 12.00
Exhibition poster: NEW NORMAL PICTURES
Exhibition poster: NEW NORMAL PICTURES
€ 12.00
Exhibition poster: NEW NORMAL PICTURES
Exhibition poster: NEW NORMAL PICTURES
€ 12.00
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