Gilbert & George started their career battling the elitism of the art world by declaring themselves to be “living sculptures”. Almost always seen together, the pair donned their now-trademark suits and created projects that were anything but conventional.
They became known for a particular style of large-scale photo-montage they developed in the early 1980s that overlays a black grid, thick black outlines, and bright hues. The end result resembles stained glass windows. The works often feature the artists themselves along with text, elements from nature, and religious symbolism. They have attracted media attention because of some of the “shocking” imagery they included such as nudity, excrement, and bodily fluids. They do not seek a “shock value” in their works, and maintain that shock value is not something they instill in the work, but something personal that the viewer owns through their reaction to what they see. Ultimately, their works explore modern urban life and the hopes and fears that are part of modern society.
These banners feature a detail of one of their most ambitious photo-montages, Death Hope Life Fear from 1984. The complete work is made up of four parts, each representing one of the titular themes. On the banner is the central imagery from “Life”. This features the artists clad in their suits and brightly colorized in saturated primary hues. While in the Death image they stand still and expressionless, here they gesture and sing with an inner life force. Behind their repeated images are green leaves accentuated with acid-tone spots. The leaves seem almost to form wings behind the figures, given them an otherworldly aura.
The image covers the entire front of the banner. The other side of the banner is red with white text that reads "de Young/Gilbert & George" and features the museum’s distinctive logo. The closing date of the exhibition "Through May 18" is printed in black at the bottom of the banner.
These banners were displayed around San Francisco to promote the De Young museum’s retrospective exhibition Gilbert & George from February 16, 2008 — May 18, 2008. The exhibition was also seen at the Tate Modern, Brooklyn Museum, and Milwaukee Art Museum. Another banner from the exhibition features Gilbert & George's companion work, Death.
Gilbert & George are the artistic duo of Italian-born Gilbert Prousch (b. 1943) and British artist George Passmore (b. 1942). The two met in art school at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London and have since been almost inseparable. They view themselves as one artist, and work equally and jointly on all of their projects. They entered the art world largely as performance artists, but have gone on to be known for their boldly colored, and often controversial, photo montages and video work.
Exhibition: Gilbert & George
Material: Printed vinyl
Dimensions: 35" x 72"
(88.9cm x 182.9cm)
Summary The 1980s brought us many duos, from Hall & Oates to Joanie & Chachi. Fortunately, it also brought us some fascinating art by the duo of Gilbert & George. 45 banners featuring a detail of "Life" from their 1984 work "Life Death Hope Fear" are available from their retrospective at the de Young Museum in San Francisco.Rendered in their inimitable style of cartoon brights, self-referential photography, and an almost Renaissance stained-glass aesthetic, the banners showcase their work to full effect. What would life be without death? Also from the Gilbert & George show come 45 banners featuring a detail of "Death" from "Life Death Hope Fear". While their "Life" image sends a message of movement, sound, and energy, the "Death" image portrays the two in still poses, expressionless, and motionless. The hothouse colors, however, bloom on both banners making them an incredible pair to hang side-by-side for maximum effect.
Hanging your banner
Hanging your banner is easy – just put a few screws in the wall or ceiling and PRESTO, you’re ready to display your beautiful banner. To make it even easier, each BetterWall banner comes with a free hanging system that gives the impression that your banner is floating just an inch off the wall.
Caring for your banner
Your banner is a unique and durable piece of art. Having been displayed outside, it has weathered the elements and remained beautiful—so it can obviously take a lot of wear and tear! Slight scuffs, small smudges, or minor creases are not noticeable when the banner is hung, and are a part of the banner’s authentic appeal.
Storing your banner
When not on display, your banner can be rolled and stored in the tube provided. Always roll your banner from the bottom and place it in a cool place.