If Art Could Talk

In Gilbert and George’s London Pictures at Arndt, the works really do speak for themselves! Frances finds out what they have to say!

Gilbert and George sound like they should be a comic duet, maybe that’s because art in pairs is quite rare. The style which the pair have adopted is also quite rare and unique. I first became interested in their works at the “Art and Press” exhibition at the Martin-Gropius-Bau and was excited to visit the exhibition “London Pictures” at Arndt, I was not dissapointed and found the whole idea behind the series inspiring.


For me this is not aesthetic art but I am drawn to it anyway. Maybe this is the point? Afterall, attractive art may belittle the point that it is making whereas the aesthetically unpleasing art reflects the events it comments on. With titles based around certain keywords from newspapers that the pair have collected or acquired over the years, the big, bold reds and blacks clash out in words which shout in your face in an almost tacky font, whilst the ever-present Gilbert and George appear in the backgrounds with stern faces which strike me as slightly comical. Though this is beside the point.

You can hardly see the background which varies between city scenes: a brick wall, a net curtain, a reflection in a car window. These are very human places, usual everyday places and most importantly the places where these things happen, in the middle of our society, adding to the realism of the works. This is socio-political art which reflects the city of London, its events and its people.

Everyday violence. Courtesy of: ARNDT Berlin and the artist

Watch your words

“Rapist” “Strangled” “Killers” and “Dead” are just a few of the lovely words which have been picked up on by the artists. The sad thing is, it’s not just art, it’s also real life. These are things that have actually happened and been reported on. What does this say about our current social situation? The fact that they are headlines also seems to comment on this. What do the intentionally emotive headlines that Newspapers come up with to jerk a reaction or sell a paper say anything about our society?

What a world!

We often hear about awful, sad or shocking goings-on, yet maybe because we hear it so often we have become immune to it. Seeing all these clippings together in such a bold way really does make you think about it all! What a world we live in! Let’s just be thankful that there are people like Gilbert and George to remind us in such a hard-hitting and visual way! I am also thankful for the Boulangerie & Café next door as I am in need of a Coffee!

  • Arndt “London Pictures” Gilbert and George, March 23rd – May 30th 2012, Tue – Sat: 11am – 6pm and by arrangement