Gilbert & George
Soon after graduating from Saint Martin’s School of Art, where they met in 1967, Gilbert & George rose to fame through their self-proclaimed “living sculptures”.
Wearing conventional suits, their faces impassive and covered with coloured powder, they perform a 1930s song, Underneath the Arches, an anthem of the lower classes, choosing to distance themselves from their immediate artistic entourage, who were more formalist and conceptual. In everyday settings, they walk, sing, read and drink, building up a body of visual material that they assembled from the early 1970s, first in black and white, then in colour, in grid formats that have frequently been compared to stained glass. Proclaiming it as “art for all”, they developed a new humanism with a universal content while refusing to provide an interpretation. Religion, sexuality, death and violence, the stuff of tabloid headlines, are the main themes of their compositions, which are inspired by their life in a working-class area of East London, where they have lived for all of their artistic career. In 2004 they began to use computers to create increasingly sophisticated allegories reflecting changes in contemporary society.