Gilbert and George have a new London show opening on Friday. Called London Pictures, it takes place not only at the original White Cube in Hoxton, but at the two other sites in London (White Cube Mason's Yard, and White Cube Bermondsey), and at the new White Cube Gallery in Hong Kong. The exhibition will tour 13 galleries across the world during its lifetime. It seems Damien Hirst's global exhibition from earlier this year has started some kind of trend.
London Pictures features 292 pictures, all black, white and red, with some flesh tones creeping in, of newspaper headlines. The headlines are from the 3,712 newspaper sellers' posters Gilbert and George have stolen over the last six years. George told Time Out: "One of us would buy a Mars Bar while the other stole the poster. You should try it".
The headlines are then grouped together by word or theme: death, banker, sex, hell, tragedy, mystery. "When you start to see the words together – School. Mystery. Tube – you start to see the most extraordinary townscape of London. And none of it is invented. These are real people's lives," the pair explained in the Guardian. Arranged in relentless grid, with the couple peeking out from behind the stark words, these images do create a snapshot of London life, albeit a slightly superficial one: one created by tabloid merchants.
The exhibition is free: if you're near a White Cube, it might well be worth popping in for a squizz at this global show. Whether the duo have cleverly documented London as it is right now; created a timely homage to a dying media form; or are just a couple of chancers with creative ideas bigger than their combined artistic talents… we'll leave you to decide.
London Pictures is on at the White Cube galleries across the city: White Cube Bermondsey, Bermondsey Street, SE1; White Cube Mason's Yard, SW1; and White Cube Hoxton Square, N1 from 9 March to 14 April. The exhibition is free. Visit whitecube.com/exhibitions to find out more.