I have chosen to look at Gilbert & George’s art work for my critical dissertation/essay for several reasons:

  1. Their artwork works around the expression of simple human life nature symbols such as: death, life and the experiences of being a human: hope and fear.
  2. Their art relates to the psychological side of human nature and self-analysis
  3. Not only they are using symbolic-archetype symbols, they as well have considered the choice of colours and what their meaning.

Art works to look at when writing the critical dissertation:

  • 1984, ‘Death Hope Life Fear‘ – a sequence of 4 art pieces each called differently: ‘Death’, ‘Hope’, ‘Life’ and ‘Fear’.

The artists’ art, which is sometimes seen as controversial and provocative, considers the entire cosmology of human experience and explores such themes as faith and religion, sexuality, race and identity, urban life, terrorism, superstition, AIDS-related loss, ageing, and death. The pictures in the exhibition have been loaned from public and private collections in North America and Europe.

More information from: http://www.contemporaryartdaily.com/2008/11/gilbert-george-at-the-brooklyn-museum/

Looking over more than three decades of Gilbert & George’s art, it is clear they move constantly from the world of the documentary present, literally seen through a camera lens, to a supernatural territory that, like so much art of the last two centuries, usurps traditional, shared religious concepts with private fantasies.

The power of these images is the result of the artists’ unbridled and uncensored imagination and of their fiercely simple colours and structures, which also echo through the corridors of religious art.

Throughout Gilbert & George’s art, the ghost of William Blake keeps hovering, as if reincarnated in the contemporary world. This is true even of their language. Like Blake, they fuse word and image, repeating their titles within their pictures and at times <…> they even inscribe the titles across the pictures, like book jackets on a personal diary.

The hermetic world of art and life created by Gilbert & George may at first seem untethered to space-time coordinates on earth, but just as Blake’s visions, however unique, can be related to the art world of his time, so too is Gilbert & George’s bell-jar universe in constant contact with what their more earthbound contemporaries are doing.

Rosenblum, R. (2004). Introducing Gilbert & George. London: Thames & Hudson

Gilbert & George place themselves, their thoughts and their feelings at the centre of their art, and almost all of the images they use are gathered within walking distance of their home in London’s East End. Yet their pictures capture a broad human experience, encompassing an astonishing range of emotions and themes, from rural idylls to gritty images of a decaying London; from fantastical brightly-coloured panoramas to raw examinations of humanity stripped bare; from sex advertisements to religious fundamentalism.

Tate. (2007). Gilbert & George. (Online).
Available from: http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/gilbert-george


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