VIDEO :: Gilbert & George 40 years on!by ams on Oct 8, 2012 • 5:28 pm
The Singing Sculpture¬†in 1973 by Gilbert & George merged¬†sculpture & performance, in the work that made them famous. Metallic coloured faces & hands painted with a mix of powder and Vaseline, & using a table as their plinth, they sang as ilike a pair of Depression-era tramps, slowly repeating a series of gestures & circling mechanically like figures inside a music box.
Gilbert & George are now among the most famous living British artists, known for their signature billboard-sized pictures in bright neon colours, showing them together, suited or naked, among a kaleidoscope of images & symbols.¬†The Singing Sculpture¬†is now recognised as the art piece that launched their career. It embodied & communicated their idiosyncratic personae & the concept of ‚Äòliving sculpture‚Äô that has informed their lives & art over 40 years.
Gilbert & George met in the 1960s as students at St Martin‚Äôs School of Art where they began to explore radical ideas such as portable sculpture & in 1969 they removed the mediation of the art object entirely, shifting focus to the actions & rituals of their daily lives as ‚ÄòLiving Sculpture‚Äô.
Wearing timeless, tailored suits & neckties, they adopted a posture of genteel decorum, enacted through a flow of polite interactions and formal modes of correspondence. They invited audiences to¬†Lecture Sculpture¬†&¬†Meal Sculpture, or to view¬†Walking Sculpture¬†&¬†agazine Sculpture.
Crowds flocked to see¬†The Singing Sculpture¬†in Australia, many staying to watch the work for hours at a time. In Sydney, ‚ÄòUnderneath the arches‚Äô was repeated 112 times a day, presented for five hours each day over six days in the entrance court of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, then¬†for five hours a day over five days¬†at Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria. As part of the environment for the work, Gilbert & George also displayed large ‚Äòcharcoal-on-paper sculptures‚Äô, across the gallery walls.
This text is an edited excerpt from the publication¬†40 Years: Kaldor Public Art Projects.
See Gilbert & George’s 2010 visit to Australia to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Kaldor Public Art Projects.
Below is the full video of Gilbert & George at NSW College of Fine Arts, 2010.