18 Octobre 2017 - 20 Janvier 2018
Vernissage mercredi 18 Octobre 2017, 18-20h en présence des artistes
Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac is delighted to announce an exhibition of Gilbert & George's newest body of work THE BEARD PICTURES. Created over the past two years, this series of pictures will be unveiled over the next four months in a series of exhibitions in New York, Paris, Brussels, London, Naples and Athens.
The artist has chosen 39 of THE BEARD PICTURES for Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac in Pantin which will vary in size from 1.5m high (four panels) up to the monumental triptych OLD BEARD RUIN spanning a massive 23 m in length (180 panels). With titles such as BEARD REVIEW, BEARD CROSS, BEARD MERRY and GOD SAVE THE BEARD the pictures employ a palette of vivid greens, purples and pinks, reds, magenta and gold, and move away from the black, red, white and blue of the previous four bodies of work bringing to mind the multi coloured world depicted in their COSMOLOGICAL PICTURES. Using their instantly recognisable technique of blocks of individually framed photographs each one of THE BEARD PICTURES shows the strangely bearded faces of Gilbert & George set against back drops that are on the one hand luridly fantastical and on the other strangely familiar.
Regarding this exhibition the British writer and novelist Michael Bracewell has stated: 'Sombre and crazed, stark and lurid, THE BEARD PICTURES confront the viewer with a disquieting vision of modern times. Their temper conveyed through successive symbols - ruins, barbed wire, grotesque cartoon-like caricatures of Gilbert & George - the unifying motif of these maddened paranoid fairy tale pictures is the image of the beard, pictorially extrapolated to the point of surrealism. Secular and sacred, the throwback emblem of hip millennial youth as well as a mark of religious faith, the beard is depicted in THE BEARD PICTURES as both mask and meaning: a sign of the times.'
Gilbert (born in the Dolomites, Italy in 1943) and George (born in Devon, England in 1942) met in the sculpture department at St Martin's School of Art in London in 1967. For their end-of-year exhibition, the Snow Show, Gilbert & George created their first work as a joint effort, a far cry from the formalist criteria of the art taught at the time. Their first break-through came with Singing Sculpture in 1969, when they covered themselves in bronze-coloured paint and sang the Edwardian music-hall classic Underneath the Arches, in various locations around London. The pictures dating from the early 1970s are their first grid-arrangements, a format that would henceforth become their formal signature. In the 1980s, their iconography became more complex, drawing upon symbolism and allegory to explore themes of eroticism, religion, and politics.
During a career that has spanned 50 years, Gilbert & George have worked together as one artist and enjoyed significant international recognition, creating more than 2,000 works of art. They have won several awards, including the Turner prize (1984) and Carnegie International (1985) and have been honoured with many distinctions, including the title of Honorary Professor of Philosophy at London Metropolitan University. They represented the UK at the 51st International Venice Biennale in 2005. Their extensive number of solo exhibitions includes The Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven (1980), Guggenheim Museum, New York (1985), National Gallery, Beijing (1993), Shanghai Art Museum (1993), Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1998), Serpentine Gallery, London (2002), Tate Modern, London, Haus der Kunst, Munich (both 2007), Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York (2008), and Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter (2014).