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Gilbert Prousch
(17 September 1943 - living) Italy

Gilbert Prousch

Visual artist

George Passmore
(8 January 1942 - living) U.K.

George Passmore

Visual artist


Gilbert Prousch (sometimes spelled Proesch), born in San Martin de Tor, in northern Italy, his mother tongue being Ladin, and George Passmore, born in Plymouth, U.K., to a single mother in a poor household. He studied art at the Dartington College of Arts and the Oxford School of Art.


They are two artists who work together as the collaborative art duo Gilbert & George. They are known for their distinctive and highly formal appearance and manner in performance art, and also for their brightly coloured graphic-style photo-based artworks.

Gilbert Prousch studied art at the Sėlva School of Art in Val Gardena and Hallein School of Art in Austria and the Akademie der Kunst, Munich, before moving to England.

Both artists met as students while studying sculpture at St Martins School of Art during the Swinging Sixties. They soon became lovers and began creating art together - "two people, one artist" - adopting the concept of "living sculptors" that they established not only in their art but in their daily lives, making their entire existence become the a piece of art itself.


They managed to extend their identity as living sculptures with the help of films and pictures that didn't need their physical presence as their early happenings did. Diffusing a robotic feel in their attitude, they are instantly recognizable by the inhabitants of Spitafields where they reside in London, with their impeccable tweed suits that make them look very distinguished and clean when their art that features sperm, urine or their penises, is not: surely the key to punk establishment.

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 poor 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. They are often seen together on walks through East London.


Since 1968, Gilbert & George have been residents of Fournier Street, Spitalfields, East London. They live in an 18th-century house that has been restored to its original decor. 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."

As an alternative to their performance activities, Gilbert & George began making large composite drawings in the early 1970s. Gilbert and George's approach to art has always been anti-elitist. Adopting the slogan "Art for All", they aimed to be relevant beyond the narrow confines of the art world. Although they work in a variety of media, but have always referred to all works as sculpture. Between 1970 and 1974 they made drawings (referred to as 'Charcoal on Paper Sculptures') and paintings to give a more tangible form to their identity as "living sculptures".


They later turned to photographic processes, and in the 1980s colored their photo-pieces with dyes of bright, sometimes acidic colors. At the same time they dramatically increased the scale of their images. Cold exemplifies their work of the 1980s in its garish color combinations, mammoth size, symmetrical composition, and the depiction of the artists. All of their pictures, since they are expressions of the lives of the living sculptures, are autobiographical and usually include the likeness of the artists.

They have received much acclaim with extensive solo exhibitions in the UK, USA, France, Holland, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Austria, Denmark, Russia and China; numerous Honorary Doctorates from academic institutions including Plymouth University; and awards such as the Special International Award, the South Bank Award and the Lorenzo il Magnifico Award. In 1986 they won the Turner Prize which is widely considered to be the U.K.'s most prestigious contemporary art award. In 2005 they represented the UK at prestigious international art exhibition, the Venice Biennale.


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.

According to Gilbert,

"We are only human sculptures 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, traveling along, drawing occasionally, talking lightly,tea drinking, feeling tired, dancing sometimes, philosophizing a lot, criticizing never, whistling tunefully, dying very slowly, laughing nervously, greeting politely, and waiting till the breaks."
george-gilbertThe 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".

Gilbert and George have been described as "art monks." For them art is a passion and a religion to which their entire lives are devoted. They eat breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday in the same cafe a block from their home. They wear the same grey suit uniform everyday, and never take vacations so they can dedicate all of their decision-making abilities to the creative process.

Gilbert & George claim to be an oddity in the artistic world because of their openly conservative political views and their praise for Margaret Thatcher.

george-gilbertGeorge claims never to have been anti-establishment: "You're not allowed to be Conservative in the art world, of course", he says. "Left equals good. Art equals Left. Pop stars and artists are meant to be so original. So how come everyone has the same opinion? ... We admire Margaret Thatcher greatly. She did a lot for art. Socialism wants everyone to be equal. We want to be different." The duo are monarchists and have said of the Prince of Wales: "We're also fond of the Prince of Wales: he's a gentleman."

Gilbert & George refer to all of their work as "pictures" because, regardless of the medium, they are actually references to the real art, the living sculptures. The artists may employ photography, but they do not consider themselves photographers. They never discuss their working methods because they fear such technical information will detract from the central message of the imagery. Content, they contend, is all important. "We do not want our works to say art," explains George. "We want them to say life," adds Gilbert.

"Art for All" is the name of the Gilbert & George studio adjacent to their home in a blue collar, east-end London neighborhood. They want their art to be accessible to "people," not just to an enlightened few. They see their art as addressing fundamental human concerns, especially current issues in modern society, such as alcoholism, homosexuality, racial tension, religion, violence, unemployment, and corruption.


Source : http://www.gilbertandgeorge.co.uk/ - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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