Home

Artists

Gilbert & George

Gilbert & George

Gilbert & George are a British artistic duo comprising Gilbert Proesch and George Passmore, who pushed the boundaries of post-war British art. Placing their personas at the heart of their work, they present themselves as ‘living sculptures’. Known for their matching suits, and formal manner, their irreverent performances take art beyond the confines of the gallery: “we decided we are art and life, every conversation with people became art, and still is.”

READ FULL BIOGRAPHY
Interested in Gilbert & George?

NEWS

The National Portrait Gallery autumn and winter events programme | Featuring conversations with Gilbert & George, Celia Birtwell and Philippa Gregory, and many other interesting events | London

The National Portrait Gallery autumn and winter events programme | Featuring conversations with Gilbert & George, Celia Birtwell and Philippa Gregory, and many other interesting events | London

30 Sep, 2023 @ 21:48

In-conversation highlights include events with artist duo, Gilbert & George – forming part of Frieze Masters – as well as David Hockney’s friend and muse, Celia Birtwell, and celebrated historical novelist, Philippa Gregory.

Radically romantic Rossettis, female impressionists and whisky – the week in art

Radically romantic Rossettis, female impressionists and whisky – the week in art

the Guardian · 31 Mar, 2023 @ 23:09

Preraphaelite sensuality gets complex at the Tate, the great Berthe Morisot wins her due and Northumberland distils Anglo-Saxon history – all in your weekly dispatch

Gilbert & George Open a Permanent Exhibition Space in London

Gilbert & George Open a Permanent Exhibition Space in London

Galerie · 31 Mar, 2023 @ 10:55

“Wherever we go, we are stopped on the street by people who say they love our art,” says George Passmore, without a hint of modesty, “but they can’t always get to see it immediately. This means everyone can see it all the time.”

 

About the Artist

Gilbert & George are a British artistic duo comprising Gilbert Proesch and George Passmore, who pushed the boundaries of post-war British art. Placing their personas at the heart of their work, they present themselves as ‘living sculptures’. Known for their matching suits, and formal manner, their irreverent performances take art beyond the confines of the gallery: “we decided we are art and life, every conversation with people became art, and still is.”

Proesch was born on 17 September 1943, in Dolomites, Italy, and Passmore on 8 January 1942, in Plymouth, Devon. Their paths converged in 1967 when they met as students studying sculpture at London's Saint Martin’s School of Art. Challenging conventional artistic methods, they began blurring the lines between their real lives and their art. In performances like The Singing Sculpture (1969), they developed ideas central to their work, donning the suits that became their daily uniform, and performing as ‘living sculptures’.

Gilbert & George continued to develop their work in a variety of media, which they also often refer to as ‘sculpture’. Their large charcoal drawings, for example, made largely between 1970 and 1975, are described as ‘Charcoal on Paper Sculptures’. Simultaneously, they ventured into ‘Video Sculptures’, exemplified by works like A Portrait of the Artists as Young Men (1970) and Gordon’s Makes Us Drunk (1972). Through these irreverent acts and later artistic pursuits, Gilbert & George aimed to challenge the fetishisation of art objects, asserting that their entire lives were art.

The pair are also known for their multi-panel photographic pieces, known as The Pictures. These compositions incorporated images of the artists alongside various other themes, from religion to patriotism. Described by the duo as a "visual love letter from us to the viewer", their black-and-white photos were tinted with vibrant colours, reminiscent of modern stained glass.

Sometimes including provocative imagery, with titles including Naked Shit Pictures (1994) and Sonofagod Pictures (2005), The Pictures shocked the media. In the 21st century, Gilbert & George continue to elicit both laughter and outrage with their topical works. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they sold downloadable posters with wry slogans, including "Gilbert & George say: Don’t catch it!" (2020).

Always aiming to reach a wide audience, touting the slogan ‘Art for All’, the duo took centre stage in a documentary series for London Weekend TV in 1997, which earned them the BAFTA Award for Best Documentary Series. In May 2007, Gilbert & George also became the focal point of the BBC documentary Imagine. Towards the end of the programme, a piece titled Planed was made accessible as a free downloadable file on both the BBC and The Guardian websites for a 48-hour period, distributing a free, original Gilbert & George piece to viewers.

Gilbert & George's art has received international acclaim, exhibited in institutions spanning from the Pompidou Centre in Paris to the de Young Museum in San Francisco. While the art world was primarily defined by Pop, Minimalist, and Conceptual art in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Gilbert & George forged an entirely distinct artistic perspective. Crafting works from varied media, but regarding their creations as sculptures, Gilbert & George challenged and expanded contemporary art practice, integrating their artistic philosophy into every aspect of their lives.

Interested in Gilbert & George?