‘Smoke Rising’, 1989, by Gilbert & George, is one of a group of works entitled ‘The Cosmological Pictures’ which toured all over Europe in that year of turbulent change. The works explore the psyche and life of modern man in a unique manner, which is more in line with the realism of Gothic art and Van Gogh, than the ideals of beauty and ‘decorum’ associated with Renaissance art. Using themselves as ‘living sculptures’, Gilbert & George confront the viewer with issues in a manner intended to open up a dialogue: “We don’t like the idea of art-for-art’s-sake. We like the idea of art-for-life’s-sake…we are searching for meaning in life and trying to discuss it with the viewer who is in front of our pictures”.* The bold, provocative style of their work, combined with high seriousness, has in spite of harsh criticism, achieved international popularity. The work touches upon sentiments and feelings that lie deep in human consciousness although they are treated in a simultaneously comic and abrasive way.
*Extract from interview with Gerald Davis, The Arts Show, RTÉ Radio, September 1992.
|Medium||Mixed media, 32 panels|
|Dimensions||338 x 568 cm|
|Credit Line||IMMA Collection: Purchase, 1993|
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