Gilbert & George have long since been acknowledged icons of contemporary art. In 1967 they met as students at St Martin’s School of Art in London. By 1969 they were reacting against approaches to sculpture then dominant at St Martin’s, which they regarded as elitist and poor at communicating outside an art context. Their strategy was to make themselves into sculpture, so sacrificing their separate identities to art and turning the notion of creativity on its head. Working as a pair and presenting themselves as ‘living sculpture’, incorporating themselves into their art, setting out to provoke their viewers, making them think and question conventions and taboos.
Gilbert & George have expanded their practice over the past decades to a variety of media—books, film, painting, postcards, photomontages—their signature style drawing on a Pop sensibility and the appropriation of mass media images. Swinging between the whimsical and the obscene (one series depicted bodily fluids and sexual acts), Gilbert & George have explored a wide breadth of subjects pertaining to race, sexuality, religion, and mortality.