Currently reading : Jack Bilbo at The David Zwirner Gallery
“Jack Bilbo by Jack Bilbo: Artist, Author, Sculptor, Art Dealer, Philosopher, Psychologist, Traveller and a Modernist Fighter for Humanity”
– self declaration
The work of outsider artist Jack Bilbo (1907-1967) is now on show in the David Zwirner gallery.
The focus of the exhibition will be on his ink drawings of the 1940s made when Bilbo was settled in London with his gallery, The Modern Art Gallery, and later Weybridge, Surrey.
Bilbo’s work is typified by the pairing of Anti-Capitalist political satire and absurdist black humour, communicated through the combination of uncensored, peculiar imagery,-emerging from doodles and fantasies- and idiosyncratic textual accompaniments and titling. This is reflective of his character, a larger than life, Bohemian raconteur yet irreverent campaigner for social change.
Jane England, Director of England & Co. and foremost scholar on the artist’s work, notes: “Many of Bilbo’s drawings reflect the Socialist outlook and anti-Capitalist views he shared with other German artists such as George Grosz and John Heartfield. Bilbo’s satiric drawings with their ironic captions convey his deeply felt political ideas””he took the role of an outsider in his life and work, and was a passionate and irreverent social critic. Other drawings depict his bizarre, sometime sexual, and often violent fantasies: they emerged from doodles and improvisations and reflect his obsessions. The titles he inscribed on them are as idiosyncratic as the drawings: surreal, absurdist, crude, often humorous”.
The ironic and surreal titles and captions accompanying the imagery support Bilbo’s self pronounced stance as a modernist fighter for humanity, as his work Death Knows No Frontiers, Races, Classes or Religions- Death is Impartial- Why Not Life? (n.d) shows.
Bilbo’s work disregards the conventional criteria of technicality and taste through the use of ‘oodling’, which Bilbo defined as the “artistic process of making sense out of nonsense, the idea to be funny, to ridicule reactionism, our own fullishness and the importance to foster the childishness in us all”.
Jack Bilbo’s work has not been exhibited in many years so this show will sure to be an exciting and inspiring visit for an artist who has been much unappreciated.
Showing at David Zwirner Gallery, London
September 4th – October 4th 2014
More information can be found here