“Gilbert & George consider themselves warriors “fighting for a total expression.” They want to invoke all our experiences, intellectual and physical, even the most dramatic, the most banal, the most shunned by social custom. Their daily struggle for artistic creative action becomes a metaphor of the unceasing desperate activity of man.” – Mario Codognato
Gilbert & George are a British artist duo who have been working together since the late 1960s. Gilbert Proesch and George Passmore met while studying at St. Martin’s School of Art in London and have since become known for their provocative and controversial work that often challenges societal norms and conventions. One of their most well-known works is titled The Singing Sculpture. Created in 1969, the performance piece features Gilbert & George dressed in suits, standing on a table, and singing the hymn “Underneath the Arches” while moving their arms and legs in a robotic manner. The piece challenges traditional notions of sculpture and performance, blurring the boundaries between the two. Another notable work by Gilbert & George is their “Drinking Pieces” series. Created in the early 1970s, the series consists of large-scale photographs of the artists holding alcoholic drinks and making provocative gestures. The images are meant to challenge societal taboos around alcohol and to critique the conservative attitudes of British society at the time. Gilbert & George are also known for their brightly colored and highly detailed “Pictures” series, which features a wide range of images and symbols from everyday life. The series has been described as a kind of visual diary, reflecting the artists’ experiences and observations of contemporary culture. Throughout their career, Gilbert & George have been recognized for their groundbreaking contributions to the art world. They were awarded the Turner Prize in 1986, and in 2017, they were the subject of a major retrospective at London’s Tate Modern museum.