Gilbert & George
With this collaboration, there is a complete dissolution of one’s individual identity. They have agreed that no one can disagree with the other. Their process is additive. One person puts an image, the other adds another. They have made it into a rule never to say no.
Here, choice is obviously constricted. One is not allowed to say no. Though for them, this process works in pushing each other’s creativity, there is also a lack of freedom. Individuality is sacrificed for the sake of the whole. In our practice we are challenging this idea. By creating two pieces of work with distinct voices, that interact, we are questioning the need to ‘homogenize’ oneself within a collaboration. In fact, there is only one piece that reveals the artistic styles of Gilbert and George. Two drawings that are entitled Gilbert by George and George by Gilbert. They both admit that this is the piece they hate the most.
Gilbert & George place themselves, their thoughts and their feelings at the centre of their art, and almost all of the images they use are gathered within walking distance of their home in London’s East End. Yet their pictures capture a broad human experience, encompassing an astonishing range of emotions and themes, from rural idylls to gritty images of a decaying London; from fantastical brightly-coloured panoramas to raw examinations of humanity stripped bare; from sex advertisements to religious fundamentalism.
From the beginning, they wanted to communicate beyond the narrow confines of the art world, adopting the slogan ‘Art for All’. As a result they have joined the very small handful of artists to become household names, and their impeccably-dressed figures are instantly recognisable to the general public.