The backdrop and inspiration for much of their work is the East End of London where Gilbert & George have lived and worked for over 40 years. I don't blame them. I'm staying literally minutes away from their house, and I can't get enough of the area either! How do I know where they live? Well by chance my friend Maurice told me. "Oh I see them wandering around all the time, they just live down there you know!" Of course I couldn't resist and insisted he show me. It's a two storey Victorian house. All the shutters were closed bar one with a golden glow coming from a dim light, and Maurice said "Oh they'd be out eating somewhere, they didn't see the point in having a kitchen at home, so are out for every meal!"
I went to their current exhibition at White Cube in South East London. Wow talk about statement pieces. They are all absolutely enormous and pack quite a punch. Their trademark format is the large grid, a square or rectangular picture broken into sections that becomes a unified field of signs and images. They believe that everything is potential subject matter for their work, and they have always addressed social issues, taboos and artistic conventions.
‘Our subject matter is the world. It is pain. Pain. Just to hear the world turning is pain, isn’t it? Totally, every day, every second. Our inspiration is all those people alive today on the planet, the desert, the jungle, the cities. We are interested in the human person, the complexity of life.’
Gilbert & George
We are only human sculptors in that we get up every day, walking sometimes, reading rarely, eating often, thinking always, smoking moderately, enjoying enjoyment, looking, relaxing to see, loving nightly, finding amusement, encouraging life, fighting boredom, being natural, daydreaming, travelling along, drawing occasionally,
talking lightly, tea drinking, feeling tired, dancing sometimes, philosophising a lot, criticising never, whistling tunefully, dying very slowly, laughing nervously, greeting politely an waiting till the day breaks.
Gilbert & George 1970
Images: ℅ White Cube website, Google images