“If you are submerged in normal life, then your view will be normal. So we have to keep separate from normal life in order to be able to say something that is not known. People come to art for something that they don’t understand, that’s not in their life already.”
This was the 1997 view of U.K.-based art duo Gilbert & George who have become something of a national treasure in Britain, overturning earlier media controversy about their challenging art.
Now the Bernier-Eliades Gallery, in Psyrri, Athens, presents the veteran duo’s exhibition The Beard Pictures. The Beard Pictures is a collection of violent and grotesque images that portray a dream-like world of paranoia and madness. An array of creepy colors and absurd landscapes, a world where reason no longer exists.
Both artists play leading roles within The Beard Pictures, showcased as sinister versions of themselves. They are intense, staring and bizarre, as if they were judging the viewer’s souls; as if their spirits had flown from their bodies, mocked and mocking at the same time.
Their red faces have surreal beards made of wire, flowers, beer foam, and rabbits with snakes for tongues. Beards that act as masks but also carry a meaning. Behind their bodies, a complex combination of extravagant foliage, fences, newspapers ads, sex workers, and builders, together with the heads of kings, popes, and heroes.
The exhibition runs until Feb. 22. Opening from Tuesdays to Fridays from 10.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. at the Bernier/Eliades Gallery, 11 Eptachalkou, Psyrri. To read more about The Beard Pictures, check the gallery website: www.bernier-eliades.gr