Gilbert & George are currently on what some might call a promotional book tour. They recently, in collaboration with the Aperture Foundation, launched a book documenting their career thus far entitled: “Gilbert & George: The Complete Pictures, 1971”. The two volume set is one of the most comprehensive publications of their works ever made and accompanies a major retrospective at the Tate Modern, London.
I went to a panel discussion this past Wednesday evening at the New School, moderated by Artforum wunderkind, Scott Rothkopf.
The G & G’s (as they often referred to themselves) did not disappoint. The evening, while devoid of any visual references to their “pictures”, was very humorous and the dynamic British duo didn’t disappoint. I actually found myself in a delighted giggle most of the evening. I will share/retell some of the stories that they told us (to the best of my ability), and are in my opinion, worth a postured revisit.
~Gilbert & George claim to have not gone to the cinema in over 30 years.
~They say that they NEVER listen to music while making work, for two reasons:
1. Its someone else’s song. (Awesome)
2. Music is too enjoyable and they don’t want to “enjoy” they want to feel and reap in the depths of life, death, pain, love, sex, politics and religion (not in any particular order).
~Also, when asked why they don’t equate their work with Photography or call it “photographs” The duo replied, “Artists do not want to be photographers, Photographers want to be artists.”
~When asked what they enjoy doing for pleasure George earnestly replied, “I don’t know” then when prompted by Scott agreed “Well, yes, I quite enjoy walking for pleasure. Observing people and saying “Hello” or “Good Morning”. Noticing the sidewalk, with little pleasant animals, spit, and maybe even vomit from dinner the night before from the nearby Chinese resturant. Maybe even one of the animals is having breakfast in the vomit. That is quite enjoyable”.
~On the idea of country living vs. urban/city living: George, “We are both country boys who came to the city. We met in college, and it took us 10 years to understand and appreciate the city. One day, we decided to visit our friend _________ (insert name here) in the countryside. We heard birds chirping. We walked through the quaint, quiet town, listening to the birds. All of the shops were closed. We came upon a church, with a cemetery and flowers scattered on the graves. We saw a lovely couple with a baby carriage. We looked at the couple and said “Good Morning” to which they replied “FUCK OFF YOU ODD LOOKING TWATS!!” Then we realized why we don’t like the country and why we prefer an urban environment. (During which Gilbert nodded enthusiastically)
me (not outloud): FAN-FUCKING-TASTIC!