Gilbert and George play with the Beard

Gilbert and George, “Beardwise” 2016, 20 pannels

Two gay artist couples are showing in Paris at the moment in two beautiful galleries and both are extremely fun and impossible to miss: Gilbert and George fill up the huge space of Thaddaeus Ropac gallery in Pantin and Pierre et Gilles are at Galerie Templon on rue Beaubourg. Both shows, by artists who have lived and worked together for forty years, are incredibly contemporary.

“Greenbeard”, 2016, twelve panels

The Italian Gilbert Prousch and Plymouth born George Passmore met at St Martin’s School of art. It was love at first sight. They produced their first graduation work there together and never split. They see themselves as one artist and are never seen alone. Very concerned with today’s societie’s issues, they live without cell phones and try not to be too connected, voted for Brexit and are monarchists! They consider themselves as living sculptures and have lived in Spitalfields since 1968.

The Thaddaeus Ropac gallery in Pantin is a superb space for the 39 large “sculptures”

The idea of the beard comes from all the hipsters from Spitalfields who hide behind their security alarms, their locked fences but also from religious men who hide behind their beards. The pictures of beards are often very aggressive, showing the violence of our generation. Some are shown with beer pints, wire, crosses, cats.

The characters’ eyes are circled with khôl borrowed from Iranian women. The bright red and green colors represent paranoïa, destruction and craziness. We are used to seeing their bald heads and their grey suits, here they appear like Satan.

Weard, 2016, 4 panels

The show is spectacular largely thanks to the space and ends on January 20 th. And in February, Anselm Kiefer will take over… (Thaddaeus Ropac Pantin until January 20 and in London at White Cube Bermondsey until January 28)

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