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  • Video

    GILBERT & GEORGE 'Tag Black', 2004

    "They've become this well-dressed, very conservative looking couple which discuss all the taboos of today's society, with no apology." In 'Tag Black', Gilbert & George stand in the middle of their customary multi-panel photographic format energetically gesticulating or primally screaming with the blue and red mirror image motif reminiscent of a fun house/circus hall of distorted mirrors. Surrounding them are graffiti-style markings which look like scrawlings of ancient languages. Lou Proud, Phillips head of Photographs in London presents 'Tag Black', 2004 by Gilbert & George, a highlight from the Photographs auction on 7 November 2013.

  • Provenance

    Sonnabend Gallery, New York

  • Literature

    R. Fuchs, ed., Gilbert & George, The Complete Pictures 1971-2005, Volume 2: 1988-2005, London: Tate, 2007, p. 1136

  • Catalogue Essay

    Gilbert & George are among the most provocative artists to have emerged from the British art scene in the late 1960s. Satirists, polemicists and regal bad boys with a dress code which has become an instantly recognizable brand. Together they have chewed and spat out most political subjects; economic, social and sexual, producing eye splitting high voltage works which embrace aspects of commercial advertising, pornography and physical theatre. They first attracted attention of art critics with ‘The Singing Sculpture’ which featured the Flanegan and Allen song, ‘Underneath the Arches’ symbolizing a harking back to prewar England whilst giving a defnite nod to the nearly extinct music hall genre, once enjoyed by all levels of the English social classes. Even in their most formative years, Gilbert & George identifed with the fringes of society and have unwaveringly projected the ‘art for all’ slogan. Their concern with performance and its powers of social use has continued to be a strong thread throughout their career.
    Working as a pair, and sacrificing their own individual identities (It is rare that you would ever see one without the other in any situation or without wearing their matching suits and ties), envisaging themselves as living artworks and placing themselves at the heart of their creations, they reach out to their audience via a kind of contemporary hieroglyphic code, projecting feelings they consider to have universal signifcance, often exposing the unmentionable, challenging boundaries and conventions, not to shock but to almost exorcise and evict by discussing in their unabashedly titillating style from the portal of vibrant gridded arenas.
    The large scale photo-montages (as presented in this current lot) have become synonymous with their name. These works are overlaid with black grids or composed of individual panels which resemble giant stained glass windows, they appear to be back lit giving a strong graphic punch and employ loud primary colours. Their metaphor is the bold employment of nudity, sexual acts, the secretion of bodily fuids, in summary anarchy reigns without inhibition. Whatever miming nonsense is going on, revolution is always in the air. In Black Tag, 2004, Gilbert & George stand in the middle of their customary multi-panel photographic format energetically gesticulating or primally screaming with the blue and red mirror image motif reminiscent of a fun house/circus hall of distorted mirrors. Surrounding them are graffiti-style markings which look like scrawlings of ancient languages. Even though the colour in this series has become more monotone, the message, sentiment and impact is high octane, make no mistake. This series is far far away from the depictions of the claustrophobic, degenerate vision of the artist’s reclusive domestic world seen in their earliest works and the closely ensuing need to document which was ever present in their 1970s pieces. Without using emblems of place to signify they are still refecting their East End world, they continue to choose emblematic colours such as red - (for its powerful association with blood, lifeblood of the city, violence and the extreme martial arts) to draw our eye and attention to how they examine the human condition now, post 2000. This work not only represents the powerful visual display classic to these artists but also the duality of their unique artistic relationship as they continue to move forward as latter day flaneurs.

74

Tag Black

2004
Twelve digital chromogenic prints in artist's frames.
Each 75.5 x 63.6 cm (29 3/4 x 25 in); overall 226.9 x 254.4 cm (89 3/8 x 100 1/8 in)
Signed in ink on the recto; sequentially numbered '1-12' in an unidentified hand in ink, printed title and date on a label affixed to the reverse of each frame.

Estimate
£100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for £110,500

Contact Specialist
Lou Proud
Head of Sale
[email protected]
+ 44 207 318 4018

Photographs

London 7 November 2013 4pm