Gilbert & George - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Wednesday, June 26, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Massimo Martino, Turin
    Luchino Visconti di Modrone, Italy, circa 1990 (thence by descent)
    Christie's, London, 2 July 2014, lot 243
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Moscow, New Tretyakov Gallery, Gilbert & George Pictures 1983-1988, 27 April - 1 June 1990, no. 13, pp. 25 and 121 (illustrated, n.p.)

  • Literature

    Rudi Fuchs, ed., Gilbert and George The Complete Pictures 1971-2005, vol. I, London, 2007, pp. 600 and 615 (illustrated, p. 600)
    Rudi Fuchs, ed., Gilbert and George The Complete Pictures 1971-2005, vol. II, London, 2007, pp. 640 and 1235 (installation view illustrated, p. 640)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Presenting a tableau of visually arresting imagery in a striking combination of red and green, Bleed, 1988, from Gilbert & George’s Pictures series of the same year, powerfully captures the artists’ signature visual syntax of bold colours and uncensored imagination. Stretching over sixteen units and rendered in the richest hues, the present work documents Gilbert & George’s infamous provocative character, often transposed directly onto their materialised artistic manifestations. The two artists’ body of works oft invokes the visual power of religious images - here suggested by the kneeling figure seen in 3/4 profile from behind - whilst simultaneously exploring the possibilities of manipulated imagery, years before the availability of digital tools.

    In stark contrast to the more traditional School of London which flourished at the same time as their own artistic practice, Gilbert & George pushed the boundaries of representation to extremes by infusing their art with hyperpersonal, and oftentimes political tropes. Conducting themselves as living sculptures, characterised by signature kaleidoscopic suits and considered mannerisms, Gilbert & George surpassed any kind of artistic categorisation or etiquette, instead straddling a variety of media such as performance, sculpture, and the pictorial vibrancy of the painterly pigment. In the early 1980s, the artistic duo mastered their distinctive technique of colouring and dramatically enlarged their subjects beyond the confines of individual, gridded units.

    Through the use of symmetry, bold forms and vivid colour, Bleed forcefully mirrors the duality of Gilbert & George’s artistic persona encompassed throughout their oeuvre. An exceptional example from their celebrated Pictures series, this work is an impressive testament to the life and pioneering practice of the most influential artistic duo in British art.




signed, titled and dated 'BLEED 1988 Gilbert & George' lower right ; further consecutively numbered '1-16' on the reverse of each part
hand-dyed gelatin silver print, in artists' metal frame, in 16 parts
each 60.3 x 50.5 cm (23 3/4 x 19 7/8 in.)
overall 241.2 x 202 cm (94 7/8 x 79 1/2 in.)

Executed in 1988.

£80,000 - 120,000 ‡♠

Sold for £106,250

Contact Specialist

Rosanna Widén

Director, Senior Specialist
Head of Evening Sale, 20th Century & Contemporary Art

44 20 7318 4060

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 27 June 2019