Artists Gilbert & George are opening a free, permanent exhibition center for their personal and confrontational work in keeping with their “art for all” ethos.
The pair, who have collaborated since they met at art school in 1967, rose to fame as “living sculptures” and are known for their distinctive, suited appearance.
The Gilbert & George Centre, which is a registered charity, will be open to the public from April 1 this year and aims to provide visitors with the widest possible access to the duo’s art, with no admission charge for the majority of the program.
The center, located in a converted 19th-century building in Heneage Street in Spitalfields, east London, features three “state-of-the-art” galleries over three levels of differing scale and feel, with The Paradisical Pictures as the inaugural exhibition.
Gilbert & George, known for being committed to raw realism, said: “We will start with The Paradisical Pictures because we realize that most people think of paradise as ‘the after party’ and we think of this as the pre-cum party.
“Our art is the friendship formed between the viewer and the pictures. We want our art to bring out the bigot from inside the liberal and conversely bring out the liberal from inside the bigot.”
The works in The Paradisical Pictures exhibition show Gilbert & George wandering through natural worlds full of impressionistically-hued fruits, flowers, leaves and trees.
It will coincide with the unveiling of The Corpsing Pictures exhibition at White Cube in the Mason’s Yard gallery space in central London and West Palm Beach in Florida, US, opening on March 29 and April 12 respectively, which has been described as their most confrontational and personal pictures to date.
The duo said they envisage the Spitalfields center becoming a leading cultural institution in London and a place for research and scholarship on the art of Gilbert & George.
It is anticipated that the center will host one or two exhibitions a year showcasing both historical and new pictures.