9 March – 12 May 2012
South Galleries, Bermondsey
This monumental body of 292 pictures is the largest series yet created by the artists. 72 works were exhibited across the galleries in Bermondsey, Hoxton Square and Mason’s Yard. This was the first time that White Cube has utilised all three spaces for a single presentation by an artist and was first UK presentation of this body of work following its premiere in Hong Kong on 2nd March 2012.
For five decades, to international acclaim, Gilbert & George have been making art that is visionary, shocking, relentless, moral and richly atmospheric.
In these ‘LONDON PICTURES’ (2011) Gilbert & George present an epic survey of modern urban life in all its volatility, tragedy, absurdity and routine violence. Brutal and declamatory, these brooding and disquieting pictures have been created from the sorting and classification by subject of nearly 4000 newspaper headline posters, stolen by the artists over a number of years. In their lucidity, no less than their insight into the daily realities of metropolitan life, the ‘LONDON PICTURES’ are Dickensian in scope and ultra-modern in sensibility.
Drawing directly on the quotidian life of a vast city, the ‘LONDON PICTURES’ allow contemporary society to recount itself in its own language. Within the townscape of this moral audit, Gilbert & George appear to pass like ghosts and seers, alternately watchful and distracted, as though their spirits were haunting the very streets and buildings that these pictures describe. The ‘LONDON PICTURES’ seem to comprise a great visual novel, revealing without judgment the ceaseless relay of urban drama, in all its gradations of hope and suffering.
Michael Bracewell, 2012
Gilbert was born in the Dolomites, Italy in 1943; George was born in Devon in 1942 and both live and work in London. Together they have participated in many important group and solo exhibitions including 51st International Venice Biennale (2005), Turner Prize (1984) and Carnegie International (1985). They have had extensive solo exhibitions, including Whitechapel Gallery (1971–72), National Gallery, Beijing (1993), Shanghai Art Museum (1993), Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1995–96), Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1998), Serpentine Gallery, London (2002), Kunsthaus Bregenz (2002), Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover (2004–05), Tate Modern, London, Haus der Kunst, Munich (both 2007), Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York, Philadelphia Museum of Art (both 2008), ‘Jack Freak Pictures’, CAC Malaga, Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels (all 2010), Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, Kunstmuseum Linz (both 2011) and Laznia Centre for Contemporary Art, Gdansk (2011–12).
A catalogue documenting all 292 of the ‘LONDON PICTURES’ with an essay by Michael Bracewell was published by Hurtwood Press to accompany the exhibition.