Gilbert & George to Open Art Museum on April Fools Day
The Gilbert & George Centre will allow the duo to present their work directly to the public all year round.
Gilbert & George, ON THE BENCH (2019). Mixed media. 301 x 568 cm. Courtesy Gilbert & George and Sprüth Magers.
On Hennage Street, just off East London's Brick Lane, is an ornate green metal gate emblazoned with a King Charles Royal monogram in gold letters.
Beyond the gate, across a secluded cobble-stone courtyard lies the Gilbert & George Centre, a new gallery space dedicated to the besuited art duo.
Set to open on 1 April, the centre will be a permanent space for the works of Gilbert Proesch and George Passmore.
Initial opening hours will be from 10am to 5pm from Friday to Sunday with additional days coming later in the year. Maintaining the duo's 'art for all' ethos, entry will be free.
The April Fools opening date is in keeping with the snide, playful humour of the duo's art and persona. Could this be some colossal joke?
Gilbert & George have collaborated together on witty, jarring, irreverent, and socially engaged artworks for more than half a century. Holding one to two exhibitions per year the gallery will showcase this legacy to the public alongside new works.
The converted 19th-century building features a reception area and three stories of exhibition space designed by the duo and with London and Vienna-based SIRS ARCHITECTs. The design reflects the pair's reverence for London's vernacular Victorian architecture, while providing modern up-to-date exhibition spaces.
Visitors to the gallery will enter through a reception area that bears resemblance to Gilbert & George's restored Georgian home round the corner on Fournier Street. The pair have lived in the same home since 1968, taking the same evening walks and eating at the same restaurant, making the location close to their heart and a focal point for their visual practice.
The Gilbert & George Centre's opening show will present 'THE PARADISICAL PICTURES' series from 2019. In a statement they describe their vision of paradise presented in the images as the 'pre-cum party' as opposed to 'the after party' most people think of.
In the series, the artists journey through a psychedelic heaven-scape, at times symbiotically merging with the natural world.
Last year, the duo described their art to Ocula Magazine as being distinctly 'normal and weird in combination together'.
It seems unlikely that the birth of their own gallery will mean the demise of Gilbert & George exhibitions elsewhere. A show of the duo's 'THE CORPSING PICTURES' series (2023), is scheduled to show at White Cube West Palm Beach, Florida from 12 April to 13 May.
The Centre will however mark the first occasion when the artists will be able to communicate their art with the public directly circumventing the institutions of the artworld to which the duo have always contended to be outsiders.
Gilbert & George said in a statement, 'Our art is the friendship formed between the viewer and the pictures'. —[O]