Gilbert & George: Scapegoating Pictures for Belfast | Review
The MAC, Belfast • Runs until 22 April ’18
By Emer Dooris
From Paris, New York and London Gilbert & George are now in the MAC Belfast. After Warhol and Hockney. I think the team deserves a large round of applause! This exhibition is provocative, engaging and at the same time amusing. Gilbert & George are two people and one artist; they are charming and they even performed their 10 commandments for us lucky few on the launch night.
They are a walking talking living art installation. Observing the two men, one art form is a fascinating reflection on their art. They are unique, unusual and very unexpected.
The MAC theatre Belfast is currently exhibiting Gilbert & George on their 50th Anniversary as a collaboration, which began when they met as students at St. Martin’s School of Art, London in 1967. All three galleries are used in the collection titled Scapegoating Pictures for Belfast. Their first exhibition in Belfast since 1999.
The MAC describes their work as being profoundly intimate and personal often incorporating images of their own bodies – sometimes nude or represented via bodily fluids – and draws intensely on their own lives. On the other hand, they present an expansive, outward-looking view of the society we live in and a meditation on the complexity of human experience. This relation of the personal to the wider society has been no better exemplified than in their ongoing concentration on the East End of London, which has been both their home and their muse for decades. The artists have described their local area as the world in microcosm, stating, “nothing happens in the world that doesn’t happen in the East End”. Constituting both a form of self-portraiture and a portrait of the wider humanity, their images are drawn from life in this part of London speak to themes of religion, sexuality, race, identity and belonging, with their philosophy ‘Art for All’ rooted firmly in the social fabric of this urban landscape.
The exhibition is free admission but booking tickets are advised. It runs until the 22 April ’18.