Gilbert & George, ‘Red Morning Trouble’ 1977
Gilbert & George
Red Morning Trouble 1977
© Gilbert and George

The title of the MENTAL pictures suggests a state of mind close to madness, which Gilbert & George say reflects their own desperation when these pictures were created. Again, their isolation is emphasised, each repeatedly appearing alone, full-figure and wholly surrounded by a white background. These images of alienation are contrasted with city scenes and shots of flowers and blossom, which hint at the promise of new growth and redemption.

The mood of the RED MORNING pictures is harsh, as titles such as VIOLENCE and HATE suggest. The views of the city often show anonymous office buildings or institutions, reflections dissolving in rain-spattered puddles, or wintry images of bare branches. However, the isolation of the artists does not seem so absolute, suggesting a turn away from the introspection of earlier pictures. Significantly, figures other than the artists begin to appear. Before they gathered the courage to ask other people to pose for them, they would take surreptitious images from their first-floor window of passers-by walking below.