Saturday 17 August 2019

Gilbert and George: We have to agree or we’d be finished

The pair shot to fame as “living sculptures” and have collaborated since meeting at art school.

South Bank Show Awards – London
South Bank Show Awards – London

By Sherna Noah, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Artists Gilbert and George have unveiled their new work The Beard Pictures and told how they “have to agree” or “we’d be finished”.

The Beard Pictures show the duo wearing beards made of wire mesh, beer foam and standing in front of and behind barbed wire.

Their Fuckosophy, also on display at London’s White Cube, is a collection of nearly 4,000 pronouncements and mottoes created by the pair, who shot to fame as “living sculptures”.

Gilbert and George work Beardsters at White Cube (Sherna Noah,PA/White Cube)

Gilbert and George, known for their distinctive, suited appearance, have collaborated since they met at Central Saint Martins art school in 1967.

Asked whether they ever disagree on their creations, Italian-born Gilbert, 74, told the Press Association: “I think we have to agree. Otherwise we would be finished!

“We have a great sense of purpose. We know where we want to go… You don’t have to be one person only to have a view.”

George, 75, said: “It’s a secret. It’s a great secret. … It’s two people but one artist.”

And he added: “When we’re asked, ‘What happens if one of you dies?’ We say ‘fall under a taxi or a bus you mean? Fear not, we always cross the road together’.”

Beardmas by Gilbert and George (Sherna Noah/PA)

Their latest, huge, brightly coloured pictures were inspired “when we started to see beards all over the place, Muslim beards, Jewish beards, Sikh beards, hippy beards, tramps’ beards”, Gilbert said.

“We started to see barbed wire all over Europe, all over the world in a new way, burglar alarms all over the world, and beards sticking through the wire.”

A message from Gilbert and George in the toilets at White Cube (Sherna Noah/PA)

Gilbert And George The Beard Pictures And Their Fuckosophy is at White Cube Bermondsey from Wednesday until January 28 2018.

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