[dropcap]T[/dropcap]here is something about Gilbert & George, the British-Italian art-duo, who’ve been working together since they met at Saint Martins in the late ‘60s. Whether it’s the co-ordinating green suits, or their witty, observational commentary, we can’t say, but there are certainly a number of qualities to which you could attribute their success. They’re so detached from the gallery-hopping cycle that most recent graduates deem requisite, that it’s hard to pin them down, but as we discovered at a rare appearance at the White Cube in Bermondsey, that’s exactly how they want it.
Pinning their admission to Saint Martins on “amazing chance and luck”, the two met whilst studying sculpture, at the then-separate Saint Martins School of Art. However, we guess you can say, to some extent, that pair’s luck ran dry, after they “were excluded- in a very good way”, admitting that post-art school, most galleries they went to see rejected them. “Once we took our work outside Saint Martins, no one knew what it was.” Four decades later, and, despite the world back then not being “ready” for their work, a lack of comprehension is far from the case.
Reflecting on how the art market has changed, the atmosphere within the White Cube changed. “In the late 60s and early 70s, the art world was the tiniest thing”, however, with the digital age’s proliferation of art imagery, this world is more expansive and more accessible to a global market. “It is so large, and there is so much money in it,” said both artists, finishing each other sentences.
However, they don’t seem overtly critical of this shift. On the contrary, they seem grateful; cause for optimism for those of us currently studying at CSM.
So what advice would they give us, the young artists and writers of today, wanting to be remembered for our work in the future? “Fuck the teachers“, says George.
Noted, but a disclaimer for any tutor’s reading, whilst we’re not always keen to comply, we’re listening.