Monday, 4 August 2014

Mallards In a Tea Cup - Gilbert and George

'We want our art to speak across the barriers of knowledge directly to People about their Life and not about their knowledge of art. The 20th century has been cursed with an art that cannot be understood. The decadent artists stand for themselves and their chosen few, laughing at and dismissing the normal outsider. We say that puzzling, obscure and form-obsessed art is decadent and a cruel denial of the Life of People'.

As politically correct as Swine Fever these two darlings of art defy most every precept of the creative world apart from being hugely inventive and dazzlingly absurd. They challenge like no other artist from Great Britain does. Age has not slowed their output nor their creativity. They exist to think and challenge us to do the same. This is what good art does. It does not suggest or if it does then it suggests you think. It reflects life in all its grim reality and sometimes what it shows is less than pleasant.

"We have a free press." 
"Fuck the Vicar." 
"Get Frotting." 
"Be candid with Christians."        
"Jerk off a judge." 
"Crucify a curator." 
"Molest a mullah."

Trying to pigeon hole either of the G's into anyone given political party is a damn hard thing to do. They could just as easily be anarchists as they could founding members of UKIP. They claim to have liked Margaret Thatcher suggesting she did a lot for art. They also admit to being monarchists and admiring Prince Charles. I care not one whit where they place their X for their art says all that needs to be said on that subject. They are free thinkers in every sense of that phrase. They seem less that happy with organised religion which as far as I am concerned is no bad thing.

"Socialism wants everyone to be equal. We want to be different."

In an art world filled with Liberal's they are a refreshing alternative yet conversely able to be equally, if not more, progressive. If the G's are conservative then they make even that fact absurd.

"We don't have anything to say except with our pictures." - Gilbert
"We don't want to think. It's exhausting enough without that." -  George
"We're just Gilbert and George and that's it." - Gilbert

Born into a world of creeping somnolence G and G partook of a refreshing draught of the absurd. Borrowed perhaps, or lent possibly, by the likes of they and them. They certainly had influences for who doesn't?
Gilbert Prousch was born in Italy in 1943. George Passmore in England in 1942. They met at Saint Martin's School of art in 1967. They be the dates of sufficiEnt significaNCE .

Two mallards in a teacup. Quack. Quack.

So then, these two, gents both, misfits in an unforgiving, judgemental world who suggest they like those the cool folk don;t and yet deny they vote Tory. What on earth are they on about? Is it all just a big wheeze? No, I think not. I believe that two gay men born in a time when chiseled chins and chipper chaps were the prevalent disease of society would have found ordinary life, whatever that really is, a trifle too much to bear. Their whole raison d'etre is, as far as I am concerned, one of two young men, aging all the while, who disliked the treatment they got from those they sought to be part off and have forever since been at odds with all and sundry. A sort of protective veil coupled with a robust attitude of fuck you pal this is us.

As for them being right wing...really? Are you having a laugh or what? They dislike all the pompous preening of so-called liberals, they are anti-elitist and they mistrust socialism as it seems to always misuse art. Seems to me a fair point of view. Libertarians perhaps? Who knows? Who really cares?

Their view of Great Britain is not unique butt is alarming. They reflect the changing attitudes with a sense of foreboding as much as they do the public's xenophobic tendencies. It is this perspective that feeds their work enabling them to produce one controversial piece after another. And they do seem to like pushing that envelope don't they? Nothing is ever safe in their hands even if they are said to be part of the art foundations stones, part of the establishment. More accepted now perhaps but as about as establishment as my left sock. (Orange and blue hoops)

Of course it could be argued that by as famous as they are and being exhibited in every gallery known that they have, by default, joined the upper form, sleep in the posh dorm, have fags purchase their fag demands but no, Ii think not, I think they still, having been accepted, generally speaking, run in defiance of most all sorts of established art.

'We want the most accessible modern form with which to create the most modern speaking visual pictures of our time. The art material must be subservient to the meaning and purpose of the picture. Our reason for making pictures is to change people and not to congratulate them on being how they are'.

 Their most recent exhibition, displayed at White Cube, had a series of potentially offensive photomontages that suggested a dislike for the Islamic principle of veiled women, of religion in general. They appeared to be deliberately provocative, insulting even whilst challenging anyone to suggest otherwise.

Have they no fear these two aging, venerable pensioners? It would appear not.

However, unlike the racists who still inhabit this green and yeah, yeah land, their take is on the absurd side, filled with a bleak humour that savages bigotry in all its manifestations. Here we see in these later works a divided England. One on hand are those of the UKIP persuasion, and no I don't think them racist, those of the Brained Numbskulls Party who very much are and the average working man who clocks on each day in fear of losing his job as the Daily Rag says he might.

To call either Gilbert or George racist is a nonsense. They live and thrive in the Spitalfields community at the centre of London, no, English diversity. They are known and respected eating out as they do among and with others of that area. They share their wealth with those less privileged.

To suggest they are elitist, part of the establishment is a spurious claim to make. they are the very epitome of what it is to be independent, individual and still unaccepting of the middling ways of England

In reality, nothing could be fur oxide found by the  outside their home artists.

There are few artists living today in England that maintain such an invigorating pace of creativity as these two chaps. Thank Christ for small mercies says I.


Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.

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A Utility Fish Shed Blog