Gilbert & George Gilbert & George

Gilbert & George

Italian & English
b. 1943 & 1942
/

Overview

'We like it very much when the pictures take over. When they're bigger than the viewer. You go to a museum to look at a picture, but we like it when the picture looks at you.'

Gilbert & George have created art together since 1967, when they met at Saint Martin's School of Art in London and decided that their art should be understood as emerging from a single source. Theirs would be, in their words, 'art for all', in contrast to what they saw as the overly cerebral and elitist Minimalist and Conceptual work that was dominant at the time. Referring to their time there, Gilbert & George said, 'the bad things in art then were emotion, colour, sentiment, feeling, sexuality - all those were taboo'. These have become some of the themes they choose to examine in their own art.

In practical terms, this has resulted in a rich body of art defined by its focus on the world we live in from the perspective of the windows of the artists' home in the multi-layered, diverse culture of Spitalfields, as well as their attitudes to the human being, sex, religion, race, money and death. As Gilbert & George once said, 'There is nothing that happens in the world that doesn't happen in the East End first.' They are often seen in public around the local area, always together and dressed in their distinctive formal suits.

Gilbert & George's art encompasses charcoal on paper, sculpture and films, but their best-known works are large-scale, highly coloured pictures. This format developed from similar early pictures, which were mostly executed in black and white. With brief or single-word titles, usually included in bold capital letters within the picture, these images are direct and highly graphic explorations of life in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Their art contains all the world, ranging from high to low culture, and their lexicon of sometimes shocking imagery includes penises, vomit, faeces, beards, burqas, flags, street signs, laughing gas canisters and crucifixes.

Gilbert & George have created art together since 1967, when they met at Saint Martin's School of Art in London and decided that their art should be understood as emerging from a single source. Theirs would be, in their words, 'art for all', in contrast to what they saw as the overly cerebral and elitist Minimalist and Conceptual work that was dominant at the time. Referring to their time there, Gilbert & George said, 'the bad things in art then were emotion, colour, sentiment, feeling, sexuality - all those were taboo'. These have become some of the themes they choose to examine in their own art.

In practical terms, this has resulted in a rich body of art defined by its focus on the world we live in from the perspective of the windows of the artists' home in the multi-layered, diverse culture of Spitalfields, as well as their attitudes to the human being, sex, religion, race, money and death. As Gilbert & George once said, 'There is nothing that happens in the world that doesn't happen in the East End first.' They are often seen in public around the local area, always together and dressed in their distinctive formal suits.

Gilbert & George's art encompasses charcoal on paper, sculpture and films, but their best-known works are large-scale, highly coloured pictures. This format developed from similar early pictures, which were mostly executed in black and white. With brief or single-word titles, usually included in bold capital letters within the picture, these images are direct and highly graphic explorations of life in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Their art contains all the world, ranging from high to low culture, and their lexicon of sometimes shocking imagery includes penises, vomit, faeces, beards, burqas, flags, crucifixes, street signs, laughing gas canisters and crucifixes.

Gilbert & George first came to public attention in 1969 with an audacious act at the opening of When Attitudes Become Form, a groundbreaking exhibition curated by Harald Szeemann, first shown in Bern and then at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. They were not selected for the exhibition, which was expanded to include British artists, so corrected the perceived oversight by painting their faces and hands with multi-coloured metallic powder and standing frozen in the middle of the gallery for the duration of the private view in London. This was the first public instance of their 'Living Sculpture', a term they have used since to illustrate the indivisibility of their art and everyday lives. 

Gilbert & George have exhibited internationally since 1970. They were awarded the Turner Prize in 1986, represented the UK at the 2005 Venice Biennale and were the subject of a large retrospective, titled Major Exhibition, at Tate Modern, London, in 2007. More recently, their art has been the subject of solo exhibitions at institutions including Luma Westbau and Kunsthalle Zürich (both 2020); Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2019); Metropolitan Arts Centre, Belfast (2018); Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art, Budapest (2017); The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2015); Nouveau Musée National de Monaco (2014); Lentos Kunstmuseum, Linz (2010); and Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York (2008), among others.

Videos

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Artist Talk: Gilbert & George and Charlie Porter
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Gilbert & George NEW NORMAL PICTURES
NEW NORMAL PICTURES
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Gilbert & George Drinking Pieces & Video Sculpture 1972-1973
Drinking Pieces & Video Sculpture 1972-1973
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Gilbert & George SCAPEGOAT. BOUC ÉMISSAIRE. SÜNDENBOCK. PICTURES FOR PARIS
SCAPEGOAT. BOUC ÉMISSAIRE. SÜNDENBOCK. PICTURES FOR PARIS
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Gilbert & George London Pictures
London Pictures
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Tea with Julia Gilbert & George
Gilbert & George
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Group Exhibition Disaster: The End of Days
Disaster: The End of Days

Exhibitions

Publications

Gilbert & George Catalogue: NEW NORMAL PICTURES

Gilbert & George
Catalogue: NEW NORMAL PICTURES

2021

Publications

Exhibition poster: NEW NORMAL PICTURES

Exhibition poster: NEW NORMAL PICTURES

2021
Signed poster by the artists.
Exhibition poster: NEW NORMAL PICTURES
€ 12.00
Exhibition poster: NEW NORMAL PICTURES

Exhibition poster: NEW NORMAL PICTURES

2021
Signed poster by the artists.
Exhibition poster: NEW NORMAL PICTURES
€ 12.00
Exhibition poster: NEW NORMAL PICTURES

Exhibition poster: NEW NORMAL PICTURES

2021
Signed poster by the artists.
Exhibition poster: NEW NORMAL PICTURES
€ 12.00
Exhibition poster: NEW NORMAL PICTURES

Exhibition poster: NEW NORMAL PICTURES

2021
Signed poster by the artists.
Exhibition poster: NEW NORMAL PICTURES
€ 12.00
Gilbert & George The Beard Pictures

Gilbert & George

The Beard Pictures
2017
Gilbert & George: The Beard Pictures
€ 15.00
Gilbert & George Drinking Pieces 1972-73

Gilbert & George

Drinking Pieces 1972-73
2017
Gilbert & George: Drinking Pieces 1972-73
€ 20.00
Gilbert & George London Pictures

Gilbert & George

London Pictures
2012
Gilbert & George: London Pictures
€ 30.00
Gilbert & George Jack Freak Pictures

Gilbert & George

Jack Freak Pictures
2009
Gilbert & George: Jack Freak Pictures
€ 35.00
Gilbert & George New Testamental Pictures

Gilbert & George

New Testamental Pictures
1998
Gilbert & George: New Testamental Pictures
€ 21.10
Group Show Sex and The British

Group Show

Sex and The British
Group Show: Sex and The British
€ 15.00
Exhibition poster: Pictures for Paris

Exhibition poster: Pictures for Paris

2014
Exhibition poster: Pictures for Paris
€ 12.00
Exhibition poster: Pictures for Paris

Exhibition poster: Pictures for Paris

2014
Exhibition poster: Pictures for Paris
€ 12.00
Exhibition poster: Beard Pictures

Exhibition poster: Beard Pictures

2017
Exhibition poster: Beard Pictures
€ 12.00

News and Press

News and Press

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