MONTECARLO.- The New National Museum in Monaco
presents a major exhibition of the art of Gilbert & George. 46 historical and more recent pictures tracing more than 40 years of creation are shown in a presentation designed by the artists on the three floors of Villa Paloma.
This unique exhibition of pictures by Gilbert & George all coming from the collection of a family based in Monaco falls into a theme repeatedly addressed by the NMNM, that of a « built » landscape, subject of analysis and interpretation for a society that constantly changes.
From this exceptional selection each viewer will see how the art of Gilbert & George comprises both a world of its own intense, frightening, lonely, loving, abject, joyous, struggling, defiant, crazed, still, contemplative, vertiginous, desiring, modern and a view of the past, present and future world.
Since first meeting at St Martins School of Art, London, in 1967, Gilbert & George have lived and worked together as one single and fiercely independent artist, dedicated solely to the creation of their art. They have no allegiance to any other trend, school, movement, doctrine, theory or style of art.
Gilbert & George already knew that they were seeking for a form of art that was to them entirely rooted in the real world in the streets and clamor and traffic and buildings and hearts of strangers: an Art For All. Their art would be multi- allusive reaching out to all of the mystery and passion and boredom and volatility of our modern urban world. Their subject was literally at their feet along countless streets, the thoroughfares of the passage of millions of lives, and dense with the yearly thickening tracery of human existence.
They would celebrate the lost world of Imperial and Commonwealth Britain, chasing down its ghosts on old postcards and in war memorials, music hall songs and Victorian architecture. All that was rejected or outlawed by the rigid dogma of contemporary art as they perceived it: their art would embrace all that was culturally and aesthetically homeless, and all who were actually homeless or unheeded, cast out, fallen through the cracks of life.
And so for Gilbert & George, like the poet T. S. Eliot and the novelist Charles Dickens before them, the dark swell of Londons ocean of humanity would offer a subject that was at once local and universal, brutally real yet ceaselessly animated by instances of visionary epiphany.
Gilbert & George Art Exhibition at NMNM-Villa Paloma is an unmissable occasion to see Gilbert & George showing this unique collection of their art.
Art for all is the belief that underpins Gilbert & Georges art. Their trademark format is the large grid, a square or rectangular picture broken into sections that becomes a unified field of signs and images.
Gilbert & George began working together in 1967 when they met at St Martins School of Art, and from the beginning, in their films and living sculpture they appeared as figures in their own work. The artists believe that everything is potential subject matter for their work, and they have always addressed social issues, taboos and artistic conventions. Implicit in their work is the idea that an artists sacrifice and personal investment is a necessary condition of art. They have depicted themselves as naked figures in their own work, recasting the male nude as something vulnerable and fragile rather than as a potent figure of strength. The backdrop and inspiration for much of their work is the East End of London where Gilbert & George have lived and worked for over 40 years. From street signs to Ginkgo trees, from chewing gum stains on the pavements to vistas of urban grandeur and decay, their work is both an ongoing portrait of a city and a reflection on the human condition. Working in series, Gilbert & George have confronted many of the fundamental issues of existence: sex, religion, corruption, violence, hope, fear, racial tension, patriotism, addiction and death.
Our subject matter is the world. It is pain. Pain. Just to hear the world turning is pain, isnt it? Totally, every day, every second. Our inspiration is all those people alive today on the planet, the desert, the jungle, the cities. We are interested in the human person, the complexity of life. --Gilbert & George
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 Art Gallery (1971-1972), National Gallery, Beijing (1993), Shanghai Art Museum (1993), Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1995-1996), Musée dArt Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1998), Serpentine Gallery, London (2002), Kunsthaus Bregenz (2002) and Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover (2004-2005), Tate Modern, London and Haus der Kunst, Munich (both 2007), Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York and Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia (all 2008), Jack Freak Pictures, CAC Malaga; Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb and Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels (all 2010) and the Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, Kunstmuseum Linz, Linz (both 2011) and Laznia Centre for Contemporary Art, Gdansk (2011-2012).