Gilbert & George’s ‘The Beard Pictures’
Why We Recommend it
Famed art duo Gilbert & George provoke thoughts on modern society with their satirical, in-your-face ‘beard pictures’.
British novelist Michael Bracewell (b. 1958, London) describes The Beard Pictures as turning “history into a mad parade” which mood shape-shifts “between that of science fiction, lucid dreaming, and Victorian caricature.”
The exhibition showcases large-scale pictures by Gilbert Prousch (b. 1943, San Martin de Tor, Italy) and George Passmore (b. 1942, Plymouth, UK), who are better known as art collective Gilbert & George. The duo depicts themselves in symbolic beards made from beer foam, flowers and barbed wire, interspersed with imagery of street signs, graffiti and ginkgo trees.
The beard is a trait of appearance which offers ripe interpretations for both the spiritual and the secular as well as the past and present. By combining the human body, the physical world and art, the artists offer an allegorical take on the transformation and upheaval of the urban environment and the contemporary era, reifying Bracewell’s summary that the beard iconography is “both mask and meaning: a sign of the times.”