Prousch was born in San Martin de Tor in South Tyrol, northern Italy, his mother tongue being Ladin. He studied art at the Sëlva School of Art and Hallein School of Art in Austria and the Akademie der Kunst, Munich, before moving to England.
Passmore was born in Plymouth in the United Kingdom, to a single mother in a poor household. He studied art at the Dartington College of Arts and the Oxford School of Art.
The two first met on 25 September 1967 while studying sculpture at Saint Martin's School of Art. The two claim they came together because George was the only person who could understand Gilbert's rather poorly-spoken English. In a 2002 interview with the Daily Telegraph, they said of their meeting: "it was love at first sight". They have claimed that they married in 2008.
Gilbert Prousch (born 17 September 1943) and George Passmore (born 8 January 1942) are two artists who work together as a collaborative duo called Gilbert & George. The two first met on 25 September 1967 while studying sculpture at Saint Martin's School of Art. The two claim they came together because George was the only person who could understand Gilbert's rather poorly-spoken English. In a 2002 interview with the Daily Telegraph, they said of their meeting: "it was love at first sight".
For many years, Gilbert & George have been residents of Fournier Street, Spitalfields, East London. Their entire body of work has been created in, and focused on, London's East End, which they see as a microcosm. According to George, "Nothing happens in the world that doesn't happen in the East End."
Whilst still students, Gilbert & George made The Singing Sculpture, which was first performed at Nigel Greenwood Gallery in 1970. For this performance they covered their heads and hands in multi-coloured metalised powders, stood on a table, and sang along and moved to a recording of Flanagan and Allen's song "Underneath the Arches", sometimes for a day at a time. The suits they wore for this became a sort of uniform for them. They rarely appear in public without wearing them. It is also unusual for one of the pair to be seen without the other. The pair regard themselves as "living sculptures". They refuse to disassociate their art from their everyday lives, insisting that everything they do is art. They were listed as among the fifty best-dressed over 50s by the Guardian in March 2013.
The pair are perhaps best known for their large scale photo works, known as The Pictures. The early work in this style is in black and white, later with hand-painted red and yellow touches. They proceeded to use a range of bolder colours, sometimes backlit, and overlaid with black grids. Their work has addressed a wide variety of subject matter including religion and patriotism. The two artists also often appear in their own "pictures". They have described their "pictures" as a sort of "visual love letter from us to the viewer".
In 1986, Gilbert & George were criticized for a series of pictures seemingly glamourizing 'rough types' of London's East End such as skinheads, while a picture of an Asian man bore the title "Paki". Some of their work has attracted media attention because of the inclusion of (potentially) shocking imagery, such as nudity, depictions of sexual acts, and bodily fluids (faeces, urine and semen). The titles of these works, such as "Naked Shit Pictures" (1994) and "Sonofagod Pictures" (2005), also contributed to the attention.
A book, The Complete Pictures, 1971–2005, published in 2007 by Tate Modern, includes over a thousand examples of their art.
In May 2007, Gilbert & George were the subject of the BBC documentary Imagine, presented by Alan Yentob. At the end of the programme a picture entitled 'Planed' was made available as a free file download from the BBC and The Guardian websites for 48 hours. People who downloaded the files could then print and assemble the piece, and thus own an original Gilbert and George picture for free.
In 2000, they moved galleries to be represented by White Cube and since 2009 by ARNDT in Berlin.
Jack Freak Pictures is, to date, the largest series of work created by Gilbert & George. According to Michael Bracewell “the Jack Freak Pictures are among the most iconic, philosophically astute and visually violent works that Gilbert & George have ever created.” The Union Jack and Gilbert & George are the two dominant pictorial images - appearing contorted, abstracted, and sometimes complete. The entire series is set in the East End of London indicated by flags, maps, street signs, graffiti and other less obvious motifs such as brickwork and foliage that can be found there.
After showing at White Cube’s Hoxton and Mason Yard galleries the exhibition travelled to the Croatian Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb; The Kröller-Müller Museum, the Netherlands; Centro de Arte Contemporaneo de Malaga, Spain; Arndt & Partner gallery, Berlin; the Baronian Francey Gallery, Brussels; and the Bozar Center for Fine Arts, Brussels.
Gilbert and George: Obsessions and Compulsions (Obessions & Compulsions) by Robin Dutt
Series: Obessions & Compulsions
Hardcover: 144 pages
Publisher: Philip Wilson Publishers (April 17, 2004)
Amazon: Gilbert and George: Obsessions and Compulsions
This major new monograph on the internationally renowned artists Gilbert & George provides a fascinating insight into their lives and work.
Since first meeting in the St Martin's School of Art in 1967 while studying sculpture, the two artists have become inseparable, living and working together in their home in London's East End.
All their work is based on the idea that they are Living Sculptures, that is, the artwork and they themselves are ultimately one and the same. They have exhibited across the globe, including Europe, the Americas, China and Russia. The book contains selected examples of their oeuvre including 'singing sculptures', 'postcard art' and their large photographic-based works which they call 'Pictures', together with an incisive introductory overview and an interview. Also included are examples of their working drawings, their exhibition designs and plans, and some images from their personal social archives, many of which have never been published.
The artists have recently changed their studio methods to digital picture making, and the book includes imagery specially created for this publication.
The book forms part of a series that presents a critical appraisal of some of the most innovative and controversial contemporary artists in the world. Each book will contain an art historical appreciation of the artist's work and a substantial new interview with each artist, focusing on themes such as technique and working practice.
More Artists at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Art
More Real Life Romances at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance
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