Gilbert & George - Contemporary Art London Friday, October 13, 2006 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Anthony d’Offay Gallery, London; Private Collection

  • Exhibited

    London, Anthony d’Offay Gallery, Gilbert & George for AIDS Exhibition, April 20 – May 20, 1989; Moscow, New Tretyakov Gallery, Gilbert & George Pictures 1983-1988, Moscow Exhibition, 1990; Museo dell’Arte Moderna della Città di Lugano, Gilbert & George, 1994; Tokyo, Sezon Museum of Art, Gilbert & George: Art for All 1971 – 1992, July – September, 1997; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Gilbert & George, October, 1997 – January, 1998; Oslo, Astrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst, Gilbert & George 1970-1988, 1999

  • Literature

    Anthony d’Offay Gallery, ed., Gilbert & George for AIDS Exhibition, London, 1989, no. 16 (illustrated); S. Klokov, Gilbert & George Pictures 1983-1988, Gilbert & George and Anthony d’Offay, London, 1990, no. 21 (illustrated); W. Jahn, Gilbert & George, Galerie Rafael Jablonka, Cologne, 1994, no. 23, p. 53 (illustrated); R. Rosenblum and S. Nonomura, Gilbert & George: Art for All 1971 – 1992, Sezon Museum of Art, Tokyo, 1997, no. 59, p. 101 (illustrated); M. Gayford, Gilbert & George, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, 1997, p. 201; Ø. Ustvedt, Gilbert & George 1970-1988, Astrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst, Oslo, 1999, no. 40 (illustrated); F. Jonquet, Gilbert & George: Intimate Conversations with François Janquet, Phaidon Press, London, 2004, p. 111

  • Catalogue Essay

    In blurring the boundaries between art and life for more than three decades, Gilbert and George have aimed to make art for everyone. Their art has dealt with politics of all types: economic, social, and sexual, and should be considered an art of communication. From taboo subjects to those that question social conventions, in their artwork, all subjects are open for discussion, nothing is too shocking, naughty, ordinary, or spared. Combining photography with performance, they have embraced pornography, pandemic diseases like AIDS, vaudeville and scatology. They often expose and bring to light the more hidden and shadowed sides of life in order to examine them. Different groups of pictures have focused on various subjects ranging from drinking and drunkenness, dirty words, human bondage, human bodily fluids and human sexual organs. As the artists themselves explain in their 1986 manifesto:

    “We want Our Art to speak across the barriers of knowledge directly to People about their Life and not about their knowledge of art. The 20th Century as been cursed with an art that cannot be understood. The decadent artists stand for themselves and their chosen few, laughing at and dismissing the normal outsider. We say that puzzling, obscure and form-obsessed art is decadent and a cruel denial of the Life of People.” (Gilbert & George: The Complete Pictures 1971-1985, Stuttgart, 1986, p. VII).

    Many of Gilbert and George’s pictures discharge psychological pain and disquiet and aim to elicit and stir emotions in the viewer. Implicit in their art is the idea that an artist’s sacrifice and personal investment is a necessary condition of art. The artists often communicate their ideas and feelings through their own presence in the pictures. In the present lot, Dick Seed, 1988, the artists are both commenting and challenging the symbolism for male power. It is interesting to note that a few years later, in the 1990s, they literally laid themselves bare and recast the image of the male nude as vulnerable and fragile, rather than as a potent figure of strength.


Dick Seed (in 9 parts)

Nine hand-dyed photographs in artist's frames.
Overall 88 4/5 x 74 1/2 in. (225.6 x 189.2 cm).
Signed, titled and dated "Dick Seed 1988 Gilbert + George" lower right.

£60,000 - 80,000 ‡ ♠

Contemporary Art

14 Oct 2006, 7pm