ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Gilbert and George

Updated on February 13, 2011

Provocative, eccentric, sensational, attention-seeking, perverse, disturbing, confronting...these are just some of the adjectives fascinating British-based collaborative artists Gibert Proesch and George Passmore provoke. As they said themselves, 'we are the weirdest people we've ever met".


They look innocuous enough - as tame as a picnic by a hiccuping brook and as British as Twinings tea-bags (though Gibert is in fact Italian-born). However, they are light years away from ordinary.

The pair met in the 1960s at St. Martins Art School in London and their first performance piece together was in Amsterdam 1969. Standing on a table, they sang and danced their way through the old Flanagan and Allen song Underneath the Arches, sometimes for hours at a stretch, which must have required great discipline. The act was attention getting and intriguing and they were subsequently invited to perform it all over the world.

Part of the punch of their work comes from the contrast between their crisp and impeccable conservative British appearance and the unexpected outrageousness of their art. At least, unexpected until you know who they are. The pair are subversive in art but they are political conservatives and take great umbrage when people assume they must also be liberal in politics. They are great admirers of Margaret Thatcher, believing she did "a lot for art"...and the Prince of Wales..."a gentleman".

Despite being loathed by some prominent art critics, such as Robert Hughes, Gilbert and George are highly successful and very bankable.


"We Are"...Gilbert and George
"We Are"...Gilbert and George

Living Sculptures


To make art you don't need objects. You just make yourself the object and then you are more complex than another sculpture could be. A piece of metal can only have a surface but we can have an inner soul that is a much more complex structure.

Gibert Proesch



Much of Gibert and George's canvas work is too out there for the puritannical demands of the Google auto-filter...dealing as they do with nudity, excrement, sperm, confronting rear ends and other unsavoury delights, so I'm unable to show much here. A google search will reveal most of it. This writer enjoys some of their work but the giant turds are sometimes just a little too much for me. I'm not ready for that kind of honesty.The philosopher Montaigne said "nothing which is human is foreign to us" and Gilbert and George seem to work off that principle.

In truth they are just as interesting as characters as they are as artists, maybe more so...their lives could be described as the ultimate performance art piece and indeed, they are often described as 'living scuptures'. Germaine Greer, who seems to pop up whenever I research a hub and am in need of a criticial comment, has attacked their work quite enthusiastically and notably said that the only way they could complete their body of work satisfactorily was to "die in unison".


Gilbert and George Dress-U-Up by David Gauntlett
Gilbert and George Dress-U-Up by David Gauntlett

In Sync

they laugh alike

they walk alike

at times they even talk alike

(Patty Duke Show)


As a (now married) couple Gilbert and George seem almost supernaturally, and enviably compatible, as they are extremely close, in taste, thought and opinion..often finishing each others sentences. In fact, it's almost impossible to imagine them existing as individuals.

They are self-sufficient, preferring never to visit other people's houses, though they will occasionally entertain at home.

Their lives revolve around a carefully designed, regimented time-table that borders on Compulsive Obsessive Disorder -they rise at a certain time, eat at a certain time, and their nightly dinner is always at the same restaurant. They also dress immaculately and are fastidious - according to Gilbert, "we cannot work at all if there is even a minuscule spot of mess".


Bend It

Jack Freak

Jack Freak is the theme name of a major series of pictures the pair exhibited in 2009 to much acclaim from some quarters, horror from others. ..but mainly acclaim. Writer and cultural commentator Micheal Bracewell described them as "among the most iconic, philosophically astute and visually violent works that Gilbert & George have ever created", while art critic Jonathon admiringly accused them of being 'climactic, claustrophobic, frightening'.


The pictures are set in London's East End, which has been home to Gilbert and George for over forty years. Many of them are cluttered with the symboilic detritus of contempory urban life - in the form of graffiti, street signs, flags, maps, brickwork and the occasional piece of greenery. Other significant motifs in the series include the union jack, inverted religious iconography and the insertion of their own images.


War Dance
War Dance


Gilbert and Gorge have mounted more art exhibitions around the world than any other lining artist. Their egalitarian motto is Art for All.

We don't have anything to say except with our pictures

~Gibert


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Jane Bovary profile imageAUTHOR

      Jane Bovary 

      7 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      Hi RunAbstract...my pleasure and thanks for reading.

    • RunAbstract profile image

      RunAbstract 

      7 years ago from USA

      I had never heard of these guys before! Thanks for introducing me!

    • Jane Bovary profile imageAUTHOR

      Jane Bovary 

      7 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      Hi Highvoltage..I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks!

    • Highvoltagewriter profile image

      William Benner 

      7 years ago from Savannah GA.

      Very cool and very wired (in a good way) Thank you so much for sharing these remarkable artist!

    • Rod Marsden profile image

      Rod Marsden 

      7 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

      Jane, I have had fun this year commenting on your hubs and, all up, I think we have had fun together and I like that. I am happy to be greatly appreciated.

    • Jane Bovary profile imageAUTHOR

      Jane Bovary 

      7 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      Rod, they are very unusual. I can't imagine being that in sync with another human being...they're almost like self-constructed identical twins.

      You have a wonderul Christmas too and thanks very much for being a regular commenter on my hubs. It's been greatly appreciated.

    • Jane Bovary profile imageAUTHOR

      Jane Bovary 

      7 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      Micky, I don't know what I'd do if you didn't come and push my buttons now and then. Cheers!

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      7 years ago

      Yo Jane! I hit all the buttons and for sure it was awesomely funny! This is a great idea for people and art. Use yourself, family and friends. Great job!

    • Rod Marsden profile image

      Rod Marsden 

      7 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

      Jane, I was introduced to a film starring this pair while I was doing my Masters. The film was made sometime in the 1980s and I couldn't help but feel it reflected the break up of empire and the sense of lack of direction the people of Britain were experiencing at that stage. Of course the financial black hole Britain was in then was rectified by the mid-1990s.

      in any event I never really understood them and probably never will. But thanks for trying. Have a good Christmas.

    • Jane Bovary profile imageAUTHOR

      Jane Bovary 

      7 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      Hahaha...Merry Christmas jrsearm...and thanks.

    • jrsearam profile image

      jrsearam 

      7 years ago from San Juan, PR

      Very groovy guys! I'd love to party with them! Gilbert looks like he can really bend it. Thanks for the introduction Jane . JR

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)