Gilbert & George

Gilbert & George. Photo: Tom Oldham

 

Gilbert and George are two men who together are one artist: Gilbert & George. They met at St Martin’s School of Art, London, in September 1967.

The art of Gilbert & George is based upon feeling and the intellect. The vision of Gilbert & George is their art, of which they are the embodiment. Their art is their account of their journey through life.

Through the experience of each picture and each exhibition, Gilbert & George believe that they as artists, the viewer and the world are changed in some way, be it great or small.

The art of Gilbert & George depicts the modern world as forcefully and directly as possible. Their vision reveals the multi-cultural, multi-faith, multi-sexual, mass-technological urban world, that is rich and poor, new and old, fast and slow, dull and unpredictable.

 

Read more

Their art shows the world of the modern city streets and the inner world of feelings, hopes, fears and memories.

In order to make their art, Gilbert & George must be disciplined, controlled and calm, and simultaneously crazed and guided by their feelings. By balancing these psychological states, Gilbert & George make art that is confrontational, brutal, dream-like and mysterious. Each picture contains the past, present and future.

On walks around their home in the East End of London, Gilbert & George see the routines and feelings of their fellow citizens, from all backgrounds. Office workers and junkies. They observe the spectrum of life the way you might observe the weather. This is their subject. The art of Gilbert & George is committed to realism but is also deeply romantic, finding heightened or disturbed emotion in ordinary things.

In every picture and ‘Living Sculpture’ the viewer sees the bond between Gilbert & George as profound and absolute. This duality proposes two men brought together by fate as outsiders and seekers-after-truth. Dualism structures the vision and art of Gilbert & George: two men, one artist; control and loss of control; reactionary and radical; traditional and ultra-modern. The singularity of Gilbert & George derives from their duality.

There is a magical quality to the union of Gilbert & George, as communicated by their art. The notion of two tramps, always on the outside, with only each other, journeying through life, at times seeming to be stooges of fate, at times cosmic travelers, at times old-fashioned song-and-dance men; mystical, vulnerable, supernatural, suffering, ritualistic, universal in their contradictions as much as their constancy.

Gilbert & George maintain a deeply felt opposition to art theory and the reference of art to the history or theory of art. Asserting instead the power of emotion and actuality, their art addresses subjects that are culturally excluded, neglected or disowned. Their art questions societal conventions, taboos and morality. By looking at difficult subjects the art and vision of Gilbert & George is intended to ‘de-shock’ rather than seeking to shock.

Likewise, however poetic or spectacular an individual picture or sculpture may be, the art of Gilbert & George is not intended to be an aesthetic, formalist or conceptual statement of any kind. By disrupting certainties, their art wishes the viewer to question life and art within themselves and their own experience.

For Gilbert & George, the modern world is always in broiling, volatile restlessness. Brooding, lonely, disrupted, portentous, mad, monumental, ordinary, desolate, violent, blasphemous, infinite.

In conveying the intensity of this vision to the viewer, the art of  Gilbert & George is empowered by formality rather than formalism. The more formal the demeanor and manner of Gilbert & George, the more intense and direct their communication of extreme emotional states, behavior, landscape and ideology.

The untameable extremism of Gilbert & George lies within themselves; their suits and ties have the function of bomb casing. The well-mannered conservatism of Gilbert & George and their creation of a precisely balanced paradox reverses the reactionary and the radical to declare an autonomous position of lucidity, isolation and inquiry. Suited and impassive, blindly stumbling or screaming, Gilbert & George take their places in the visionary landscapes of their art as both participants and witnesses.

The art of Gilbert & George makes the viewer think about art from first principles and primal responses: what does this make me feel and why?

 

Gilbert & George: The Early Years
Museum of Modern Art, New York, May 9–September 27, 2015

 

Gilbert & George: The Early Years
Museum of Modern Art, New York, May 9–September 27, 2015

 

Works
Gilbert & George
Gilbert & George
ON THE BENCH, 2019

Gilbert & George
ON THE BENCH, 2019
Mixed media
301 × 568 cm
118 1/2 × 223 5/8 inches

Gilbert & George
Gilbert & George
GREENLY, 2019

Gilbert & George
GREENLY, 2019
Mixed media
151 × 127 cm
59 1/2 × 50 inches

Gilbert & George
Gilbert & George
ROSY, 2019

Gilbert & George
ROSY, 2019
Mixed media
226 × 316 cm
89 × 124 3/8 inches

Gilbert & George
Gilbert & George
ROSEMANCE, 2019

Gilbert & George
ROSEMANCE, 2019
Mixed media
226 × 263 cm
89 × 103 1/2 inches

Gilbert & George
Gilbert & George
FIGGED, 2019

Gilbert & George
FIGGED, 2019
Mixed media
151 × 127 cm
59 1/2 × 50 inches

Gilbert & George
Gilbert & George
CHAIN BRAIN, 2019

Gilbert & George
CHAIN BRAIN, 2019
Mixed media
226 × 505 cm
89 × 198 7/8 inches

Gilbert & George
Gilbert & George
LEFT BEHIND, 2019

Gilbert & George
LEFT BEHIND, 2019
Mixed media
226 × 253 cm
89 × 99 5/8 inches

Gilbert & George
Gilbert & George
DATE HEADS, 2019

Gilbert & George
DATE HEADS, 2019
Mixed media
151 × 127 cm
59 1/2 × 50 inches

Gilbert & George
Gilbert & George
SEXPARTITE, 2019

Gilbert & George
SEXPARTITE, 2019
Mixed media
301 × 505 cm
118 1/2 × 198 7/8 inches

Gilbert & George
Gilbert & George
EATEN MESS, 2019

Gilbert & George
EATEN MESS, 2019
Mixed media
190 × 301 cm
74 7/8 × 118 1/2 inches

Gilbert & George
Gilbert & George
TENDER, 2019

Gilbert & George
TENDER, 2019
Mixed media
226 × 253 cm
89 × 99 5/8 inches

Gilbert & George
Gilbert & George
ANTHERS, 2019

Gilbert & George
ANTHERS, 2019
Mixed media
190 × 451 cm
74 7/8 × 177 5/8 inches

More views
Details
Gilbert & George

Gilbert & George
ON THE BENCH, 2019
Mixed media
301 × 568 cm
118 1/2 × 223 5/8 inches

Gilbert & George
ON THE BENCH, 2019
Gilbert & George

Gilbert & George
GREENLY, 2019
Mixed media
151 × 127 cm
59 1/2 × 50 inches

Gilbert & George
GREENLY, 2019
Gilbert & George

Gilbert & George
ROSY, 2019
Mixed media
226 × 316 cm
89 × 124 3/8 inches

Gilbert & George
ROSY, 2019
Gilbert & George

Gilbert & George
ROSEMANCE, 2019
Mixed media
226 × 263 cm
89 × 103 1/2 inches

Gilbert & George
ROSEMANCE, 2019
Gilbert & George

Gilbert & George
FIGGED, 2019
Mixed media
151 × 127 cm
59 1/2 × 50 inches

Gilbert & George
FIGGED, 2019
Gilbert & George

Gilbert & George
CHAIN BRAIN, 2019
Mixed media
226 × 505 cm
89 × 198 7/8 inches

Gilbert & George
CHAIN BRAIN, 2019
Gilbert & George

Gilbert & George
LEFT BEHIND, 2019
Mixed media
226 × 253 cm
89 × 99 5/8 inches

Gilbert & George
LEFT BEHIND, 2019
Gilbert & George

Gilbert & George
DATE HEADS, 2019
Mixed media
151 × 127 cm
59 1/2 × 50 inches

Gilbert & George
DATE HEADS, 2019
Gilbert & George

Gilbert & George
SEXPARTITE, 2019
Mixed media
301 × 505 cm
118 1/2 × 198 7/8 inches

Gilbert & George
SEXPARTITE, 2019
Gilbert & George

Gilbert & George
EATEN MESS, 2019
Mixed media
190 × 301 cm
74 7/8 × 118 1/2 inches

Gilbert & George
EATEN MESS, 2019
Gilbert & George

Gilbert & George
TENDER, 2019
Mixed media
226 × 253 cm
89 × 99 5/8 inches

Gilbert & George
TENDER, 2019
Gilbert & George

Gilbert & George
ANTHERS, 2019
Mixed media
190 × 451 cm
74 7/8 × 177 5/8 inches

Gilbert & George
ANTHERS, 2019
Gilbert & George
Gilbert & George

Gilbert & George
ANTHERS, 2019 (detail)

Gilbert & George
ANTHERS, 2019
Details
icon_fullscreen
1 of 12

 

Current and Upcoming
Gilbert & George
Gilbert & George, Double, Double Helpings (© Gilbert & George, 2021)

Gilbert & George
Double, Double Helpings
2021

Gilbert & George have released a set of limited edition plates to benefit their East London neighbours, The Canvas Café, a social enterprise that provides free meals to the homeless and families in need. Each edition is presented as two plates together, ‘BEARDLIGHT & BEARDTOAST’ from 2021 and ‘ROSY’ & ‘ON THE BENCH’ from 2020. The plates, screen-printed fine china and limited to 50 of each set, can be purchased here.

Link
Exhibitions at Sprüth Magers
Gilbert & George

Gilbert & George
THE PARADISICAL PICTURES
April 28–August 25, 2021
Berlin

The show presents a selection of 25 works from Gilbert & George’s THE PARADISICAL PICTURES series portraying a psychedelic and fantastical world beyond the streets of the artists’ London studio. Completed in 2019 before the current pandemic their studies of the relationship between man and the natural world have today acquired a new and urgent resonance. Gilbert & George present a vision of paradise which is ultimately transcendental, an ominous depiction of how we place ourselves in the modern world yet also how we may change for the better.

 

Read more

Gilbert & George
THE PARADISICAL PICTURES
November 16, 2019–January 27, 2020
Los Angeles

Gilbert & George have created art together as one visionary, artistic entity since 1967, when they met at Saint Martins School of Art in London. Recognized by institutions and collections worldwide for their groundbreaking, fiercely independent and influential art across diverse mediums, they continue to produce confrontational, richly emotive and thought-provoking art that, more than fifty years later, pushes into ever-new territory. Sprüth Magers is honored to début Gilbert & George’s PARADISICAL PICTURES, a new group of thirty-five major pictures that mark the artists’ first solo exhibition in Los Angeles in nearly two decades.

Read more
Gilbert & George
Gilbert & George

Shadow and Light
Richard Artschwager, John Baldessari, Matthew Barney, George Condo, Walter Dahn, Olafur Eliasson, Martin Fengel, Peter Fischli  David Weiss, Dan Flavin, Sylvie Fleury, Gilbert & George, Dan Graham, Thomas Grünfeld, Andreas Gursky, Stefan Hirsig, Jenny Holzer, Axel Kasseböhmer, Stefan Kern, Karen Kilimnik, Astrid Klein, Louise Lawler, Anne Loch, Paul Morrison, Jean-Luc Mylayne, Bruce Nauman, Manuel Ocampo, Nam June Paik, Hirsch Perlman, Lari Pittman, Barbara Probst, Gerhard Richter, Ed Ruscha, Robert Ryman, Frances Scholz, Andreas Schulze, Cindy Sherman, Paul Sietsema, Rosemarie Trockel, Kara Walker, Andy Warhol, Christopher Wool, Martin Wöhrl, Philip-Lorca diCorcia
July 26–August 31, 2003
Salzburg

Monika Sprüth and Philomene Magers will open a temporary space in Salzburg together with their London partner Simon Lee for the duration of the Salzburg Festival. One of the main reasons for this was the fact that the galleries are traditionally closed in August and that exhibition operations are shut down, but at the same time cultural life is at its peak in Salzburg, not far from our Munich location. It makes sense to contribute something to the cultural climate with a precisely formulated group exhibition and at the same time to reach a sophisticated international audience.

Press

Vistas: Gilbert & George & Blondey
Kaleidoscope, interview by Blondey McCoy, Spring – Summer, 2021

„Kunst kommt zuerst, dann Politik“
Süddeutsche Zeitung, interview by Till Briegleb, March 19, 2021

At Astrup Fearnley Museet there is a big solo show dedicated to the eccentric artistic duo…
Kooness, article by Daniel Birnbaum and Hans Ulrich Obrist, October 9, 2019

Provocative pictures: Gilbert & George discuss their new exhibition at The MAC
The Irish Times, article by David Roy, January 25, 2018

Studio Visit: Gilbert & George
Elephant, interview by Robert Shore, October 11, 2017

Gilbert & George: ‘It’s G&G! We’re a Brand!’
Financial Times, article by Rachel Spence, September 1, 2017

Review: Gilbert & George in the Early Days, Sending Up a Religion Called Art
The New York Times, review by Ken Johnson, September 3, 2015

At Home with Gilbert & George: ‘It has to be immaculate in order for us to make all these unpleasant pictures’
The Guardian, article by Edward Paginton, May 19, 2015

The Human Theater of Gilbert & George
Art in America, article by Michael Duncan, October 2008

Gilbert & George on Gilbert & George
Art Monthly, interview by Andrew Wilson, April 1990

Gilbert & George: Talked to / Written on
Parkett, article by Duncan Fallowell, 1987

Art: Gilbert and George, Duo who work as solo
The New York Times, article by Michael Breson, April 26, 1985

Biography

Gilbert & George (*1943, San Martin de Tor; *1942, Plymouth) met in 1967 as graduate students at Saint Martin’s School of Art in London and have worked together ever since. Recent solo exhibitions include Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2021), Kunsthalle Zürich (2020), Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris and Moderna Museet, Stockholm (both 2019), Helsinki Art Museum (2018), Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art, Budapest (2017), Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania (2016), Museum of Modern Art, New York (2015), Nouveau Musée National de Monaco (2014), Deichtorhallen Hamburg (2011), Łaźnia Centre for Contemporary Art, Gdansk (2011), Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo (2010), De Young Museum, San Francisco (2008), Milwaukee Art Museum (2008), Brooklyn Museum, New York (2008) and Tate Modern (2007). Gilbert & George represented Britain at the 51st Venice Biennale (2005). Selected group exhibitions include The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2020), The Warehouse, Dallas (2017), The Jewish Museum, New York (2016), The Drawing Center, New York (2016), Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Vaduz (2014), Nottingham Contemporary (2014), Institute of Contemporary Art, London (2013), Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2013), Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha (2012), Gropius Bau, Berlin (2012), Hong Kong Heritage Museum (2011) and Kunsthaus Zürich (2011).

Education
Gilbert
St Martin's School of Art, London
Academy of Fine Arts, Munich
Hallein School of Art
Wolkenstein School of Art
George
St Martin's School of Art, London
Oxford Art School
Dartington Hall College of Art
Dartington Adult Education Centre
Public Collections
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
Berardo Museum, Lisbon
Brooklyn Museum, New York
CAPC Musée d'Art Contemporain de Bordeaux
Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, Turin
Cleveland Museum of Art
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin
Istanbul Modern Art Museum
Magasin 3, Stockholm
Malmö Art Museum
MAXXI, Rome
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, TX
Museum Ludwig, Cologne
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, NM
Museum of Modern Art, New York
National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh
National Museums, Liverpool
National Museums, Holywood
North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC
Nouveau Musée National de Monaco
Palmer Museum of Art, Penn State University, University Park, PA
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.), Ghent
Tate, London
Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester