New Normal Pictures

Gilbert & George's New Normal Pictures continues the duo's exploration of the modern urban English landscape. Peter Gray reports.

Featuring 26 all new works, White Cube’s latest exhibition, NEW NORMAL PICTURES, offers art lovers a fascinating insight into the minds of two of art’s most singular artists: Gilbert & George. 

The New Normal 

With the pair’s now signature self referential style to the fore and a host of recognisable London motifs, the exhibition continues the duo’s gaudily colourful journey through a London populated by graffiti, crack-jacked public telephones and homelessness. 

This picture of urban squalor and deprivation is juxtaposed against the gleaming towers of the city, as our two protagonists, often resembling a music hall comedy duo, cavort around the capital in their colourful suits & garish ties.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Gilbert & George

The White Cube website says of the duo: “Since meeting as students in the late summer of 1967, Gilbert & George have been travelling together on a visionary and moral journey that they liken to John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress. Their journey is made on foot, along the endless streets of London, occasionally by bus to the city’s eastern edges. It encompasses new-build developments on reclaimed and reworked land; excursions into a not-too-distant future, as disquietingly mild as it is lowering”.

Bleak, urban otherworldiness

The duo’s new work has an intensely disquieting air, like a surreal, yet very real, dream. Familiar elements are sprinkled around the images, however, while the location is recognisably London, it is a hollowed out, empty city. 

The White Cube website says of the exhibition: “Gilbert & George bring worlds to life in their art that are also moods and feelings. Brute realism is infused with the vague yet precise temper of disquieting and uneasy dreams. They often use very few elements, a concentrate of concise image-subjects to create violence, drama, and mystery in their pictures. Litter, railings, drug bags, shovels, spades, and old trinkets become like a ‘palette’ as if primal images that do the work of primary colours. In these pictures there are no ambiguous shades, no finesse or subtlety softens their bleak urban other-worldliness”.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Gilbert & George’s NEW NORMAL PICTURES is definitely worth seeing, even if the images often leave a lingerly, bitter aftertaste. The pair’s vision of London is often brute and nightmarish. A quality which is made even more disquieting by the gaudy, intensely colourful presentation. 

NEW NORMAL PICTURES will open to the public on the 13th of April 2021 but just to whet art lover’s appetites for the show, White Cube have launched a virtual version of the exhibition on their website.

You can see Gilbert & George’s NEW NORMAL PICTURES exhibition here.

For information on other forthcoming exhibitions, please click here.

-London's Best Events-
What: art exhibition
When: 2 Mar - 1 May 2021
Where: online
Website: White Cube