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‘Art for all’ is the credo of Gilbert and George. United by their disdain for the formalist approach to sculpture, Gilbert and George met as college students at the St Martins School of Art, and have been living and creating together ever since. Their increasingly formal appearance marked by matching tweed suits juxtaposed with their loud, provocative, brightly-coloured artwork is what cultivates the distinctive public persona–Gilbert and George. Having explored many facets of human existence through their work including sex, religion, corruption, racial tension, addiction and death, they believe that art in every form exists to provoke thoughts.
Join us in conversation as they speak to Shilpa Vijayakrishnan about their ever-expanding practice, distinctive style and approach to confronting a breadth of societal issues through their work.
In collaboration with Museum of Art & Photography
Gilbert & George
Gilbert & George began creating art together in 1967 and from the beginning, in their films and ‘LIVING SCULPTURE’ they appear as figures in their own art. The artists believe that everything is potential subject matter for their art, and they have always addressed social issues, taboos and artistic conventions. Implicit in their art is the idea that an artist’s sacrifice and personal investment is a necessary condition of art. They have depicted themselves as naked figures in their own pictures, recasting the male nude as something vulnerable and fragile rather than as a potent figure of strength. The backdrop and inspiration for much of their art is the East End of London where Gilbert & George have lived and created art for nearly 50 years. From street signs to Ginkgo trees, from chewing gum stains on the pavements to vistas of urban grandeur and decay, their work is both an ongoing portrait of a city and a reflection on the human condition.
Shilpa Vijayakrishnan has led the Education & Outreach Department at MAP since its conception, during the course of which she has curated over five exhibitions specially designed for younger audiences, as well as conceptualised and facilitated a range of programmes for schools, children and adults. Former editor of the Tasveer Journal, her articles have been published in publications including the eponymous print edition of the Tasveer Journal, Maharanis: Royal Women of India, Gardens of the Mind: Swapak Nayak and Gilles Bensimon and Figures in Time: Bourne & Shepherd. She holds a postgraduate degree in Arts & Aesthetics from the Jawaharlal Nehru University and has curated online narratives for MAP on the Google Arts & Culture platform on a range of subjects including Women in Hindi Cinema and the Pichwai painting tradition, among others.