The MAC to host major exhibition from Gilbert & George

Gilbert and George are two of the most recognisable names in contemporary art and January 2018 will see the first significant exhibition of their work in Ireland in 20 years, at the MAC in Belfast where they will exhibit the ‘SCAPEGOATING PICTURES’.

Since opening 5 years ago the MAC has exhibited major works by David Hockney, Andy Warhol and now Gilbert and George. This year marks the 50th anniversary of their first meeting at St. Martin’s School of Art in 1967 and their identification as ‘Living Sculptures’ two people one artist.

The ‘SCAPEGOATING PICTURES’ unflinchingly describe the volatile, tense, accelerated and mysterious reality of our increasingly technological, multi-faith and multi-cultural world. It is a world in which paranoia, fundamentalism, surveillance, religion, accusation and victimhood become moral shades of the city’s temper. Gilbert and George take their place in these ‘SCAPEGOATING PICTURES’ as shattered and spirit-like forms – at times masked, at times as grotesquely capering skeletons, at times dead-eyed and impassive.

Hugh Mulholland, Senior Curator at the MAC said: “We are delighted to be bringing Gilbert and George to Belfast again after an absence of nearly 20 years. In many ways Northern Ireland is a very different place to what it was in 1999 when they last exhibited here, but in many ways we remain the same and still have unresolved issues around equality and the recognition individual rights.

Gilbert and George provoke and challenge deep seated preconceptions. By acting as a mirror to society, they place themselves and by extension us within their work, their intention is to be provocative to force us to examine our complicity in all that is wrong with society. This is a very significant exhibition for us and is very much in keeping with the MAC’s vision to bring major internationally renowned artist to audiences here. I am confident that Gilbert and George’s return to Northern Ireland will be every bit as popular with visitors as their last visit. I cannot think of a better way to open our 2018 programme.”

Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented: “Gilbert and George are the most influential duo of contemporary British art. The ‘SCAPEGOATING PICTURES’ like all their epic works, will no doubt offend, provoke and intrigue us, presenting the viewer with an unrelenting portrayal of the fractures evident in Britain today. The Arts Council is delighted to endorse this latest exhibition at the MAC; we hope it will inspire many thousands of people to come along and be challenged and engaged by the unique vision of the remarkable artistic collaboration which is Gilbert and George”.

The exhibition will run from 25 January 2018 - 22 April 2018 in the Sunken, Tall and Upper Galleries at the MAC. The exhibition is open daily from 10am-7pm. Admission is free with a suggested donation of £3. Tickets are required and bookable at or via our Box Office from December 2017.

This event is supported by Tourism NI.