To mark the 50th anniversary of their creative collaboration, the prodigious British artists Gilbert & George are bringing their latest primal show to Athens’ Bernier Eliades Gallery from January 11. The artists will also participate in person at a special free event tonight (January 10) – A Conversation with Gilbert & George – to be curated by Michael Bracewell at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre at 7.30pm.
Anarchic British design duo Gilbert & George have cemented this all-pervasive hirsute legacy in their latest primal exhibition THE BEARD PICTURES.
Gilbert & George view themselves as Living Sculptures. Like much of their previous artistic output, the 13 arresting works from THE BEARD PICTURES are based on manipulation of their own image.
Most are not altogether comfortable to gaze upon. THE BEARD PICTURES are violent, eerie, grotesque, lurid and crazed, depicting a dream-like world of paranoia, destruction and madness, coloured with strange sickly hues and smashed up, absurd landscapes. If they had a cinematic bedfellow, it would probably be Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange”.
Gilbert & George take their places within THE BEARD PICTURES as intense, red, staring, empty-headed and sinister versions of themselves. Their eyes are shadowed and bizarrely prettified and they seem to look at, into and through the viewer. They look possessed and stern, absurd, imprisoned, mocking and mocked.
In each picture they wear beards that are surreal and symbolic. Beards made of wire mesh, beards made of beer foam, beards made of flowers, beards comprising rabbits with snakes for tongues. 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 & George are known for trashing contemporary artistic niceties in favour of intense symbolism. THE BEARD PICTURES turn history into a mad parade of a world gone mad, their mood shape-shifting between that of science fiction, lucid dreaming and Victorian caricature.
You can read our exclusive interview with Gilbert & George from their last visit to the Greek capital back in 2009 HERE:
See THE BEARD PICTURES from January 11-February 22 at Bernier Eliades Gallery, Eptachalkou 11, Thissio (Hours: Tuesday-Thursday: 10:30-18:30 | Saturday: 12:00-16:00) tel: 210.341.3935, www.bernier-eliades.gr
Insider Weekly, January 10, 2018.