White Cube is to present the ‘NEW NORMAL PICTURES’ by Gilbert & George. This major exhibition brings together 26 new pictures described by the artists as ‘celebratory, crazed and super-modern’.
For Gilbert & George, the ‘new normal’ is a stand in for the word ‘existential’, where a sense of normality is constantly being renewed. In creating these pictures, the artists continue the visionary and moral journey they began as students in the summer of 1967 – likened to a Pilgrim’s Progress – walking our world over to feel alive and to find new ways to combat prejudice and discover new freedom.
In the ‘NEW NORMAL PICTURES’, the artists appear as zonked figures amongst disorientating London cityscapes that are embedded with often-overlooked objects such as litter, railings, drug bags, shovels, and old trinkets. These items are like a ‘palette’ of primal images throughout the pictures, creating all-too-real arranged visions of our world today and beyond.
‘NEW NORMAL PICTURES‘ opens on White Cube Online on 2nd March 2021 and will be followed by an exhibition at White Cube Mason’s Yard, which will open to the public by appointment following UK government guidelines.
A fully illustrated catalogue with an essay by writer and novelist Michael Bracewell, as well as four unique posters designed and specially signed by the artist, are available to coincide with the exhibition.
Gilbert & George NEW NORMAL PICTURES White Cube Online: 2 March – 1 May 2021 White Cube Mason’s Yard: Opening date subject to UK Government guidelines
Coinciding with the exhibition, Gilbert & George have created limited charity editions of two sets of their plates made for The Canvas Café in London for the project ‘Double Helpings’, which helps some of the city’s most vulnerable residents. Each presented as two plates together, BEARDLIGHT and BEARDTOAST from 2021 and ROSY and ON THE BENCH from 2020, these limited editions are individually numbered and are accompanied by a photograph of the artist and a certificate of authenticity. Interest can be registered at doublehelpings.bigcartel.com.
About the Artists
Art for all’ is the belief that underpins Gilbert & George’s art.
Gilbert & George began creating art 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 art. The artists believe that everything is potential subject matter for their art, and they have always addressed social issues, taboos and artistic conventions. Implicit in their art is the idea that an artist’s sacrifice and personal investment is a necessary condition of art. They have depicted themselves as naked figures in their own pictures, 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 art is the East End of London where Gilbert & George have lived and created art for nearly 50 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. 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, isn’t 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 and George was born in Devon, UK in 1942. Gilbert & George live and work in London. Solo exhibitions include their touring retrospective exhibition currently at Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2021) and previously at Kunsthalle Zurich, Switzerland (2020), Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2019), Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo (2019), and LUMA, Arles, France (2018). Other solo exhibitions include Casa Rusca Museum, Locarno (2020); Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris (2019); Helsinki Art Museum, Finland (2018); Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, Australia (2015); The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2015); Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Málaga, Spain touring to Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb (2010); Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania (2008); Tate Modern, London touring to Haus der Kunst, Munich; Castello di Rivoli, Turin, Italy; De Young Museum, San Francisco, California; Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York and Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin (2007–08); Serpentine Gallery, London (2002); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1996); Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin touring to The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (1985); and Whitechapel Gallery, London touring to Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and Kunstverein Düsseldorf (1971). They have participated in numerous group exhibitions including ICA, Miami (2018); HangarBicocca, Milan (2017); The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2011); Barbican Art Gallery, London (2007); 51st Venice Biennale (2005); 5th Biennale de Lyon, France (2000); Carnegie International, Pittsburgh (1985); and Turner Prize, Tate Gallery, London (1984).