Gilbert & George and the Circus in Bermondsey


Paz Errázuriz: ‘Miss Piggy II, Santiago’, 1984

It’s a circus in Bermondsey this Christmas. You expect that of Gilbert and George, but their ‘Beard Pictures’ feel like they’re mostly running on autopilot. I was more drawn to the ‘Fuckosophy’ covering the walls with phrases featuring ‘fuck’ and its… conjugates. It may be a one liner stretched to 4,000 lines, but that takes some fucking chutzpa, and you soon find yourself scanning the entries for the favourites – FUCK-A-HOOP, PASSIVE FUCKING, FUCK-ON-SEA, FUCKERS UNITED, and the self-contradicting EASY ON THE FUCKS are to my taste – so perhaps there is a case for the seasonal O COME ALL YE FUCKERS (to 28 Jan). The circus for real is next door: Chilean photographer Paz Errázuriz is best known for ‘Adam’s Apple’, her series depicting male prostitutes and transvestites which is now on show at Tate Modern, but Cecilia Brunson has 28 of Errázuriz’ evocative photographs from her 1980’s time living on and off with an itinerant circus in Pinochet regime Chile, so capturing an unseen community from the inside (‘Circo’, to 19 Jan). The circus tradition has pretty-much disappeared in Chile, as here – and as in Canada, scene of Wil Murray’s conjunctions at Vitrine a few yards south, a window front display which looks especially good by dark. Murray combines the locations in Alberta and Saskatchewan at which his family’s circus toured in 1933-43 with the prairie sites on which Japanese balloon bombs fell in 1944-5, in photographs layered behind his personal signifier of exaggerated brushmarks (‘The Onlyes Power Is No Power’, to 2 Jan). I suspect the casual passer-by won’t spot the role of Hoffman’s Novelty Circus, but yes – it’s all a circus in Bermondsey.


Gilbert and George pose in front of ‘THE FUCKOSOPHY’ (photo Toby Melville)


Wil Murray: THE ONLYES POWER IS NO POWER, 2017

Most days art Critic Paul Carey-Kent spends hours on the train, traveling between his home in Southampton and his day job in London. Could he, we asked, jot down whatever came into his head?

About Paul Carey-Kent

Art critic and curator, based near Southampton. I write most regularly for Art Monthly, Frieze, Elephant, State, Photomonitor... and, of course, FAD.