A new Gilbert & George centre opens in Spitalfields

This new center dedicated to Gilbert & George opens on April 1st, not only interesting news for being a new space in an area known for its art galleries and artistic initiatives, but also for having created a new space in a 19th century building in Heneage Street in Spitalfields.

The Gilbert & George Center will provide a permanent home for an unparalleled artistic legacy and will be a place for visitors from around the world to experience Gilbert & George’s images.

Photo: © SIRS Architects-The Gilbert and George Center – 1st Floor Exhibition Space

The belief behind Gilbert & George’s art is “Art for All”, and the Gilbert & George Centre is an extension of this ethos. The Gilbert & George Centre, located in a courtyard on Heneage Street in Spitalfields, London, was designed by SIRS Architects in collaboration with Gilbert & George.

The Centre consists of three state-of-the-art exhibition spaces spread over three distinct levels. Visitors will enter via a secluded cobbled courtyard into the reception area which is reminiscent of Gilbert & George’s restored Georgian house and studio on Fournier Street.

Gilbert & George envision the Centre becoming one of London’s leading cultural institutions and a venue for research and scholarship on their art.

SIRS architects have incorporated two clear aesthetic visions into The Gilbert & George Centre: a sensibility for the conversion of a 19th-century building, in line with the artists’ vision of London architecture as a legacy of the city. At the same time creating contemporary exhibition spaces suited to their art.

The overall design approach considers the sustainability of the building in its broadest sense, integrating environmentally friendly features and taking into account its entire life cycle.

gilbert & george portrait in front of center gates
©Gilbert & George. Courtesy The Gilbert & George Center Gilbert & George at the gates to The Gilbert & George Center Photograph: Yu Yigang © Gilbert & George / Courtesy The Gilbert & George Center

Gilbert Prousch, also known as Gilbert Proesch and George Passmore are two artists who collaborate as Gilbert & George. They are renowned in performance art for their unique and highly formal appearance and demeanor, as well as their brightly colored, graphic style photographic artwork.

While George is British, Gilbert is Italian although born in South Tyrol and a Ladin native speaker.

The inaugural exhibition at The Gilbert & George Center will be THE PARADISICAL PICTURES, shown for the first time in London. Gilbert & George take their place in this haunting vision of a heavenly place in a way reminiscent of psychic reports or broadcasts of a journey deep into an enchanted forest or overgrown park.

It is as if a psychedelic landscape, more akin to poetic realism and Arthurian legend, has secretly imagined science fiction. This particular paradise, inhabited or passed through by Gilbert & George, is a place where the very air is drugged.

From image to image, the artist is subjected to a biomorphic alteration into a plant state, a twist that would be cartoonish and absurd, were it not equally sinister.

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