The Gilbert & George Centre is located on Heneage Street, just off Brick Lane in the heart of London’s East End. Founded in 2017 to create a permanent exhibition space for the artists’ legacy and intended to enrich London’s cultural offering, the Centre is committed to being accessible to everyone in the community.
The Centre does not intend on maintaining the gallery in a ticket price, in keeping with the Gilbert & George’s ethos ‘Art for All’, but donations from visitors and interested parties will always be gratefully accepted and will always be applied to the running and upkeep of the Centre. The Gilbert & George Centre will initially open Friday to Sunday from 10am-5pm with additional opening days extending into 2023.
It will provide a permanent home for an unrivalled artistic legacy and will be a place for visitors to convene from across the globe to experience pictures by Gilbert & George. The belief that underpins the art of Gilbert & George is ‘Art for All’, and the Centre is an extension of this ethos.
The Gilbert & George Centre, designed by SIRS Architects in collaboration with Gilbert & George, comprises three state-of-the-art exhibition spaces over three levels of differing scale and feel. Visitors will enter through a secluded cobbled courtyard to the reception area reminiscent of Gilbert & George’s restored Georgian home and studio on Fournier Street. Gilbert & George envision that the Centre will become a leading cultural institution in London and a place for research and scholarship on the art of Gilbert & George.
The inaugural exhibition at The Gilbert & George Centre will be THE PARADISICAL PICTURES, exhibited in London for the first time. Gilbert & George take their place in this disquieting vision of a heavenly place in a manner resembling psychical reports or transmissions from a journey deep into an enchanted forest or overgrown park. It is as though a psychedelic landscape, more given to poetic realism and Arthurian legend, had secretly envisioned science-fiction.
This particular paradise, inhabited or traversed by Gilbert & George, is a place where the very air is drugged. From picture to picture the artist are subject to biomorphic alteration into vegetable states – a turn of events that would be cartoon-like and absurd were it not so equally sinister. The dead yet watchful eyes of Gilbert & George stare sleeplessly from grotesque detritus of fruits and flowers; from masks of dead leaves – details of spirit faces, as the artist themselves are seen first pursued by unseen wonders or horrors, then finally exhausted, worn out, in a sleep that seems to promise no rest.
Gilbert & George commented: “We will start with THE PARADISICAL PICTURES because we realise that most people think of paradise as ‘the after party’ and we think of this as the pre-cum party.”
THE PARADISICAL PICTURES at the Gilbert & George Centre will coincide with the unveiling of their new THE CORPSING PICTURES at White Cube Mason’s Yard, London and White Cube West Palm Beach, Florida. Their most confrontational and personal pictures to date, THE CORPSING PICTURES by Gilbert & George will open to the public on 29th March 2023 and 12th April 2023 respectively.
SIRS Architects have embedded two clear aesthetic visions in The Gilbert & George Centre: sensitivity to the conversion of a 19th century building in keeping with the artist’s view of London’s architecture as the legacy of the city, while creating contemporary exhibition spaces suitable for their art at the same time. The overall design approach considers the sustainability of the building in its broadest sense, by integrating environmentally conscious features and whole lifecycle considerations.
The Gilbert & George Centre is managed by a Board of Trustees. It is anticipated that the Centre will host one to two exhibitions a year showcasing both historical and new pictures by Gilbert & George.
The Gilbert & George Centre Location: 5a Heneage Street, London E1 5LJ
White Cube Mason’s Yard, 25-26 Masons Yard, St. James’s, London SW1Y 6BU
White Cube is pleased to announce an exhibition of THE CORPSING PICTURES at Mason’s Yard, ahead of the unveiling of The Gilbert & George Centre in Spitalfields. THE CORPSING PICTURES are Gilbert & George’s most profoundly personal and confrontational works to date. They will also be exhibited for the first time in the U.S. at White Cube West Palm Beach, Florida, from 12th April to 13th May 2023.
About ‘THE CORPSING PICTURES’ by Michael Bracewell, 2023
‘In the art of Gilbert & George, meaning is inferred through feeling and atmosphere, and these possible meanings can be in stark contrast to one another. They can be read like a paradox or aphorism in which the juxtaposition of apparent opposites creates levels of interpretation beyond those first encountered. Such a high velocity interplay of meanings is acutely felt in ‘THE CORPSING PICTURES’, beginning with the arresting or even shocking title of the group, that could refer, dizzyingly, to both death and dead bodies, and the theatrical slang for an actor who suddenly steps out of character during a performance, by either forgetting their lines, or laughing, or causing another actor in the scene to lose their composure. To break the spell therefore: to admit the illusion of acting, to revel in revealing the ‘pretence’ of theatre.
‘As such ‘THE CORPSING PICTURES’ present the viewer with ambiguity, contradiction and enigma, as much as pathos, poignancy, sepulchral eeriness and a visceral sense – conveyed by the attitude and expressions of Gilbert & George within the pictures – of sudden helplessness and somnolence in the face of entombment and entrapment. Might Gilbert & George be ‘corpsing’ therefore in both meanings of the word? An unanswered question; an oscillation between different senses of an ending.
‘This tension between feeling, interpretation and meaning is created by Gilbert & George from a very small number of visual devices. In addition to the figures of the artists themselves, the tableaux of ‘THE CORPSING PICTURES’ are comprised primarily of bones, string knotted or cut into lengths, and decayed plant stems, stalks and leaves. The palette is red, black, white and gold. The artists are most often depicted lying side by side, diagonally across one another, or top to toe. Sometimes they appear to be sleeping; elsewhere they cover their mouths or eyes or ears, as though ritualistically, acting out responses in a charade, or signals in a game.
‘As always in the art of Gilbert & George, from its extraordinary beginnings with the living sculpture, UNDERNEATH THE ARCHES, as early as 1969, the progress of the artists through a visionary journey of life is depicted in a manner at once mysterious and vulnerable, overtly physical and mystically emblematic. In this, Gilbert & George have always been strangely eternal agents of modernity, acting out a mix of seer, stooge and everyman, thrown between the city and the supernatural, who travails piteously and entertains uproariously, at the heart of modernism itself. A dualism that might well be summarised by both principal meanings of ‘corpsing’, as well as by their seeming contradiction.’
Gilbert Prousch was born in the Dolomites, Italy in 1943 and George Passmore was born in Devon, UK in 1942. Gilbert & George live and work in London.
Solo exhibitions include Auckland Art Gallery Toio Tāmaki, New Zealand (2022); a touring retrospective eat Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2021); Casa Rusca Museum, Locarno (2020); Kunsthalle Zurich, Switzerland (2020); Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2019); Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo (2019); Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris (2019); LUMA, Arles, France (2018); 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, Germany, 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, Germany (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, British Pavilion (2005); 5th Biennale de Lyon, France (2000); Carnegie International (1985); and Turner Prize, Tate Gallery, London (1984).