Thursday, April 12, 2007

Gilbert and George, Tate Modern 11.04.07

I was lucky enough to attend a private tour around the Gilbert and George exhibition at Tate Modern yesterday, hosted by the artists themselves. Excellent stuff ... as always they were extremely polite, courteous and engaging.
Part of the frisson I get from G&G, I'm sure, is the incongruity between their appearance, their personal deportment on the one hand and the ripe old content of their art on the other. There was a similarly hilarious disjunction involved with William S. Burroughs - the well dressed, well brought up elderly gentleman who happened to write and say all those rude things.
There they were, calmly and politely showing us around all those huge pictures showing them full frontal or bending over showing their arseholes, or full of various bodily secretions. Bravery and honesty ... rare these days.

With the Time Out arts editor, G & G lead us around the show and talked about their work and their history ... very illuminating, very funny; in person, they embody some of the most interesting aspects of their work - a nice dry wit allied with a determination to look at the world and to engage with it, including all those bits some may find shocking, ugly or obscene, but which are (of course) vital parts of life.


Blogger Geddy Lee Helium Voice. said...

Fantastic, Anthony. Sounds like a day to remember. I think they are about the most interesting artists working today - certainly in the gallery context. Wish I'd have been there myself.

7:40 AM  
Blogger St. Anthony said...

I was real lucky in winning a ticket from Time Out ... maybe relatively few people enter their little competitions, as I've won few things with T.O. in the past.
As always, they were very funny and interesting.

6:49 PM  
Blogger Dan Barrow said...

Don't know whether you've heard it already, but:

Scroll down for the G&G song. Very odd.

9:42 PM  
Blogger Geddy Lee Helium Voice. said...

Well done, then. Going to try to get to see the Surrealist show tomorrow - touch & go at the moment!

11:46 PM  
Blogger farmer glitch said...

Good on you sir - I need to get up to town to see this show before it closes for sure ....

12:59 PM  
Blogger St. Anthony said...

It's a great show ... full of humour and curiously moving, some of it.

2:55 PM  
Blogger St. Anthony said...

I checked out the G&G song, too. Classic! just what you imagine a day round G&G's gaff sounds like.

3:55 PM  
Blogger Geddy Lee Helium Voice. said...

London yesterday. Bloody awful 'Surreal Things' at V&A - £9, too! Looked like a schoolplay mostly. Curator wants shooting.

Better is the Mark Wallinger presentation of all that anti-war-in-Iraq stuff that was previously camped outside the Houses of Parliament, at Tate Britain. Moving. Rellocation to gallery focused one's attention, in ways less crass than one might assume. Just across from that is a room full of Chapman Bros machines - uber-histrionics, as always, but with an overegged depressive Radiohead-style narrow view of humanity's shortcomings which has its fun element nonetheless. Both free.

Goodish show at the ICA, too - a brief survey of supposed punk-style UK activity 78-88: Linder, refs to The Clash, Steven Willets. Best thing is film by the amazing and underunderrated Leigh Bowry. Well worth your £3.

Best thing, though, maybe, was having a free meal in a poshish Italian restaurant with tokens we get from our Tesco shopping! Viva!

Lovely weather, too.

4:55 PM  
Blogger St. Anthony said...

I gathered that the Surrealist show was a missed opportunity to put something interesting on.
That ICA show sounds good though ...
Nothing is quite as good as a freebie ... particularly when it comes to grub.

7:42 AM  
Blogger rockmother said...

Wow - that's like getting the golden ticket in Willy Wonka - what a great thing to win - you lucky thing. I love G&G and I loved seeing their early stuff. Their 70's photography reminded me of old film title sequences in their symmetry and I love the way they have pretty much chronicled British popular culture throughout the decades. They are so often construed as being enormously offensive but actually I am inclined to think they are just having one big laugh. I want to go and see it all again before it finishes - I really enjoyed it. The paper sculptures in the first room when you go in are beautiful. I love it all.

12:18 AM  
Blogger rockmother said...

PS: I went to the ICA exhibition too. That sent me on a serious memory lane trip. I really enjoyed that too but in a different way. Jon Savage's photo's of London were great as were Jennifer and Christine Binnie's diaries and ephemera of their brilliant Neo-Nudist years. Excellent.

12:23 AM  
Blogger St. Anthony said...

Yes, I've been lucky with T.O. offers or competitions ... a couple of years ago I won a holiday to Venice. We got to stay in a 5 star hotel that, I think, Proust had once stayed it.

Many critics still seem to have the knife out for G&G ... God knows why, all that stuff about their perceived political orientation, for instance. Very po-faced, some of the commentators ... as you say, G&G's humour should never be discounted.
I must get off to the ICA, would like to see Jon Savage's contribution. I don't know the Binnie stuff, shall have to check it out.

7:20 AM  
Blogger murmurists said...

Yes, Rockmother - worth a gander the ICA thing. Saw a similiarly nostalgia-inducing thing at the Cornerhouse in Manchester early 1990s, in the shape of a Jamie Reid retrospective. He even arranged a load of picson the wall to read as 'fuck off'! Hilarious - and at his age, too.

Personally, I think G&G are deadly-serious. The 2part Southbank Show special years ago was about the best thing I've seen on them; and their film, 'The World of Gilbert and George', really conveys the tenuous and dangerous path their art follows. Best stuff I've seen for years. Their last crop, on the london bombs with the alien-lokking heads, is as frightening and telling as ever, I think.

2:08 PM  
Blogger St. Anthony said...

The latest G&G pictures, the bomb pictures are marvellous. They said they had received a nice letter from one of the survivors of the 7th July bombs - one in the eye for the critics who have attacked the pictures.

11:22 AM  

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