Gilbert & George @ White Cube


A string of headlines can be found covering the walls of all three locations of the White Cube Gallery in London. These posters, entitled The London Pictures are the work of the infamous duo Gilbert and George and are comprised of 292 images.

The London Pictures are the largest series of work by the artists’ who stole 3,712 newspaper bills from East London in order to construct the works. The artists’ used words that kept cropping up across the newspaper bills to feature throughout the work, including: ‘yobs’, ‘bomb’ and ‘accused.’ These words are then featured on a group of black and white posters compiled on a grid, with the buzz word highlighted in red. The posters put emphasis on the headlines of newspapers that seem shocking when grouped together, but also highlight how un-phased we are with the constant repetition of these headlines in everyday life. We manage to get on with our lives, yet the London Pictures seem to dramatise what we are used to. The red could reflect blood or anger, and the pair surely mean to shock.

However, the artists’ who won the Turner Prize in 1986 insist that the pictures also show us a ‘privileged world.’ We have the freedom to share this in newspapers and our government does not hide this all from us. Furthermore in the year of the Queen’s diamond jubilee, although difficult to notice, the pair have included her profile in the background.

The series is reminiscent of the Dirty Words Pictures of 1977, and while they remind us of last years riots, they give us something to talk about, whilst also placing importance on Britain and particularly London, in the year of the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics.

The London Pictures are on display at the White Cube’s Bermondsey and Mason’s Yard locations until 12 May, and until 14 April at Hoxton Square

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Lizzy Vartanian Collier is a London-based writer with a special interest in contemporary Middle Eastern Art. She has a BA in Art History and an MA in Contemporary Art and Art Theory of Asia and Africa from the School of Oriental and African Studies. She runs the Gallery Girl blog and has written for After Nyne, Arteviste, Canvas Magazine, Harper's Bazaar Arabia, Ibraaz, Jdeed Magazine and Reorient.

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