Gilbert and George at White Cube, Bermondsey
I liked Gilbert and George at White Cube. In fact, I love Gilbert and George anyway. Their 'Art for all' ethos is one that resonates with me and I can get behind. I especially like the fact that they see everything as potential subject matter.
‘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
I saw the latest offering from Gilbert and George at White Cube, Bermondsey last week, and have to say that it was everything I expected and more. 'The Banners' are a new work with hard-hitting slogans that meet hate with hate in a slanging match. Gilbert and George have created this work responding conventions that polarise views, such as the Church, teachers, sex.
Within these works Gilbert and George explore typography, and also the classic headline, short, hard-hitting, attention grabbing. The artworks almost a call to action; instructions to the viewer:- "Burn That Book" and "Ban Religion" two examples that use language we expect from those that preach extremist views. Gilbert and George at White Cube display ten banners, of which their are three copies, these works are repetitive and leave the viewer imagining these slogans being shouted, from speakers corner, from a pulpit, from a stage where anyone might listen.
Many reviews of Gilbert and George at White Cube are saying that the works use 'visual language', which they do, but more so they bring language and words back into contemporary art. 'The Banners' remind me of those that fly flags from their windows, black spray paint on bedsheets, with similarly angry vitriol. There appears to be less concern about aesthetics and more about relevancy to the viewer, with many of 'The Banners' being relatable to all ages (how many times have we heard that teachers are crap, or Religion is inherently bad, or that a book needs to be banned?). 'The Banners' remind me of Jenny Holzer's Truisms, but where Holzer's work has always seemed slightly sorrowful, Gilbert and George's offering seems angry.
Gilbert and George at White Cube is good, it's worth seeing, even if you can't take photos (sort it out Jay Jopling). There's a lingering feeling that I've been shouted at, that someone wants me to think about what I'm doing just that little bit more.