press release

This long-awaited exhibition is the largest ever to explore the remarkable art of Gilbert & George.

Gilbert & George have created art together since meeting at St Martin's School of Art in 1967. Their impact on the international art world was immediate, radical and subversive with the declaration that sculpture need not be confined to the production of three-dimensional objects and that their own lives could be classed as ‘living sculptures’. Since then, their joint existence has been one long art journey which has led to major exhibitions in five continents, including pioneering shows in Russia and China.

The exhibition begins with a documentation of the legendary Living Sculptures together with the idyllic Nature Pieces which include the rarely seen Charcoal on Paper Sculptures. This is followed by pictures of increasingly powerful social engagement including the Drinking Pieces and Human Bondage and culminating in the infamous, black white and red Dirty Words Pictures of 1977.

The 1980s and 1990s saw an explosion of colour in their art through which Gilbert & George continued to confront fundamental human issues. Among the comprehensive selection of works from this compelling period are the Tate's own vast quadripartite Death Hope Life Fear, the phantasmagorical Life Without End, the scandalous Naked Shit Pictures and the instinctive Fundamental and New Testamental Pictures featuring the artists' own blood, tears, spunk, piss, shit and sweat.The final section of the exhibition explores Gilbert & George's visionary twenty-first-century art. Beginning with the promiscuous New Horny Pictures and mesmerising lice-infested East One Pictures, followed by the Gingko Pictures of Venice Biennale fame, these works continue to ask provocative questions about sexuality, identity and religion. The show ends with the controversial Sonofagod Pictures including the epic Was Jesus Heterosexual? which led to accusations of blasphemy. Gilbert & George have also created completely new pictures for this exhibition.

Supported by Tate Members

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Gilbert & George