Gilbert & George, LONDON CRIME


Gilbert & George (b. 1942-1943)

RA Collection: Art

London Crime is part of the series London Pictures based on headlines from over 3000 newspaper posters (e.g. The Evening Standard and The Hackney Gazette). Gilbert & George began collecting newspaper posters from the areas around their East London home after creating the work News which explored their sense that 'everything in life is connected with sex, money, race or religion' and that newspaper posters reflected this 'exactly'. This collection was also the basis for their Bomb pictures.

London Crime comprises numerous individual works, laid out in a grid format with headlines categorised according to subject matter with key words highlighted in red. Gilbert & George chose to limit the colours of the London Pictures, including London Crime, to the black, white and red of the newspaper posters from which the headline words are taken. Gilbert & George feature in the work themselves, as they do in each of the London Pictures appearing variously like omniscient overseers or incidental witnesses to the proclaimed horrors. Each image in the series also features the profile of Queen Elizabeth II in the lower right-hand corner, like a sarcastic seal of approval of the work and its contents. The Queen's profiles are all scanned from Commonwealth coins, from Malta to Canada to Cyprus.

Gilbert & George describe the individual works in the London Pictures series as 'historical and timeless' and every poster they collected as 'an amazing human sorrow, tragedy, nightmare lasting generations'. There are 292 works in the series altogether, constituting the number of works it took for the artists to use up their whole collection of newspaper posters. They recall that they 'let the pile of posters make the group of pictures'. The series as a whole presents an embodiment of the streets of the modern city, Dickensian in scope yet also contemporary. The format allowed the artists to deal with difficult subject matter. They explain that 'because they were words we were able to arrange these layers or thoughts that were going through London like an amazing landscape, cityscape...that is completely alive and feels like walking through...London at night.'

Further information:

https:/ / channel/channel/ gilbert_and_george_lon don_pictures_white_cu be_2012

Object details

Gilbert & George (b. 1942-1943)
Object type
Copyright owner

3020 mm x 3170 mm

Royal Academy of Arts
Object number
Diploma Work given by Gilbert & George accepted October 2017
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