Eccentric British art duo Gilbert & George will open their permanent exhibition space in London on Saturday, driven by an “art for all” ethos — and a desire for immortality. Located not far from their home and studio in the former working-class district of Spitalfields in London’s East End, the converted 19th century building covers a total of 280 square meters over three levels.
The Gilbert & George Centre will host one to two exhibitions each year. Its opening show will be “Paradisical Pictures”, a London first which features the duo inhabiting “a disquieting vision of a heavenly place imagined as an enchanted forest or overgrown park”. Entrance is free, in line with the tweed-wearing pair’s belief in accessible art.
“You don’t have to be a specialist, you don’t have to be rich, you can be poor or whatever you want to understand our art,” Gilbert explained in a video presentation. “It was very important that it was a human space, we don’t like aggressively minimalist galleries and museums,” chimed in George. “We want it to feel part of life, it’s also so that we can live forever, because everyone wants to live forever,” he added.
“We’re getting old, but we’re living forever”, joked Gilbert. Gilbert Prousch, 79, and George Passmore, 81, met at Saint Martin’s School of Art in 1967, and have been inseparable ever since, personally and professionally. Much of their output consists of large-scale photos, often of themselves, drenched in glaring, super-saturated colors and dealing with far-from-neutral subjects such as religion and ethnicity. – AFP