Gilbert & George Biography - ArtLyst
George was born in Devon in 1942. Gilbert was born in Italy in a small village in 1943. They met in 1967 as students studying sculpture at St Martins School of Art, London.
In 1969 they collaborated on "THE SINGING SCULPTURE"a performance piece consisting of Standing together on a table dancing and singing the Flanagan and Allen standard ‘Underneath the Arches’ The piece was well received and they were asked to perform the work globally.
Art for all is the belief that underpins Gilbert & George’s art. Their trademark format for wall pieces is the large grid, a square or rectangular picture broken into sections that becomes a unified field of signs and images almost like windows in a cathedral. In their films and 'living sculpture' they appeared as figures in their own work.
Gilbert & George believe that everything is potential subject matter for their work, and they have always addressed social issues, taboos and artistic conventions. Implicit in their work is the idea that an artist’s sacrifice and personal investment is a necessary condition of art. They have depicted themselves as naked figures in their own work, recasting the male nude as something vulnerable and fragile rather than as a potent figure of strength.
Of their last show at White Cube, ‘SONOFAGOD PICTURES’ (2006), Michael Bracewell wrote, lustrous, ornate, pictorially complex, vividly coloured, yet suffused with tenebrous solemnity, they have all of the dramatic visual impact which one might expect to find in neo-Gothic medievalism in Victorian reclamations of Celtic or Moorish symbolism, for example, regally bejewelled and portentous with romantic mysticism. At the same time, however, the SONOFAGOD PICTURES possess a darkly graven strangeness, at once archaic and ultra-modern, in which their temper no less than their signage appears deeply contemporary, ritualistic and disturbed.
Their latest show "Jack Freak", also at the White Cube is not a departure from this ethos. It explores wider issues of nationalism and pride.
Gilbert & George: JACK FREAK PICTURES
10 Jul to 22 Aug 2009
Mason's Yard London