Gilbert & George, BIG BEN ON FLAG, from: Urethra Postcard Pieces, 2009, mixed media, unique, signed and dated, 88 x 123 cm | 34.65 x 48.43 in


30 April to 27 AUGUST 2011 – ARNDT – Gallery Weekend Berlin

Nearly four decades after their first exhibition of Postcard Art, and twenty years after their last group of pictures made of selected postcards, Gilbert & George returned to this medium to make an extensive group of 564 new pieces. Typical postcard topics such as the Union Flag, landscapes, the Royal Family and tourist destinations, are complimented by telephone box cards and flyers, which are mainly focusing on prostitution. 52 pictures from this single largest group of art works by Gilbert & George will be exhibited at ARNDT Berlin from 29 April 2011.

A two-volume set catalogue published by Prestel illustrates all 1.004 new “The Urethra Postcard Pictures” and early Postcard Pictures (1972–1989), most of which have not yet been catalogued or exhibited before.

Michael Bracewell describes the significance of this body of work in his contribution for the catalogue as follows: “In their sheer visual intensity, the extremism of their language and above all the forceful unity of their composition, THE URETHRA POSTCARD PICTURES both extend the POSTCARD ART of Gilbert & George as a specific form, and comprise one of the most powerful, mesmeric and intensely conceived and created groups of artworks that the artists have ever made.”

Gilbert Proesch was born in San Martin de Tor in Italy, his mother tongue being Ladin rather than Italian. He studied art at the Wolkenstein School of Art and Hallein School of Art in Austria and the Akademie der Kunst, Munich, before moving to England. George Passmore was born in Plymouth in the United Kingdom, to a single mother in a poor household. He studied art at the Dartington College of Arts and the Oxford School of Art, then part of the Oxford College of Technology, which eventually became Oxford Brookes University.

The two first met on 25 September 1967 while studying sculpture at St Martins School of Art, now Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, one of six colleges in the University of the Arts, London. The two claim they came together because George was the only person who could understand Gilbert’s rather poorly spoken English. In a 2002 interview with Daily Telegraph they said of their meeting: “it was love at first sight”. They have claimed that they married in 2008.

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