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The Fundamental Gilbert & George

  • Royaume-Uni
  • 1997
  • en
  • 100'

Gilbert & George cultivate paradoxes. Set back from the upscale milieu of contemporary art that reveres them, this pair of loners advocates "art for all". Serial, obsessive, sensitive, cerebral, with a British elegance that borders on parody, their provocative commandeering of the codes compels reflection. The camera follows them in their home-studio, in their neighbourhood, giving free rein to the lucid, often crude words of these working-class gentlemen about themselves and about the changes in the world that feed their creative process.

The Fundamental Gilbert & George
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Synopsis

Gilbert & George cultivate paradoxes. Set back from the upscale milieu of contemporary art that reveres them, this pair of loners advocates "art for all". Serial, obsessive, sensitive, cerebral, with a British elegance that borders on parody, their provocative commandeering of the codes compels reflection. The camera follows them in their home-studio, in their neighbourhood, giving free rein to the lucid, often crude words of these working-class gentlemen about themselves and about the changes in the world that feed their creative process.

What you will find in this film

Preparatory studies • An interest in the organic • Samples and observation • Thousands of contact sheets • A rigorous nomenclature • Giant formats • Masks and stencils • Successive impositions • Months for one image • The photographic kitchen • Good use of the grid • From micro to macro • From black and white to colour • Total mastery of the creative process • A serial art • Exhibition models • A duo of artists • A four-handed creation • Thirty-five years of creation • "Living sculptures" • Total complicity • The art of provoking reflection • Paying attention to the world • Art for All • Artists in immersion • Permanence and durability • Never denying oneself • Breaking taboos • Contemporary, universal themes • A home-studio • London's East End • Bespoke tailor • Routines and obsessions • Relentless collectors • Rejection of religions • An interest in transcendence • On the need to be tolerant • To make the artist a work of art • A planetary influence •

In many ways our life, we believe, is a nightmare. What we are doing is based on unhappiness. I know many people don’t like that, but it is true.

Film chapters

summary08:32 Beginnings

summary20:29 The neighbourhood, the home-studio

summary40:25 Public success

summary57:19 Creating an image

summary89:50 Studio work and the laboratory 

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Further exploration

• GILBERT & GEORGE - THE GREAT EXHITION (1971-2016) - catalogue ; preface : Maja Hoffman ; authors : Hans Ulrich Obrist, Daniel Birnbaum ; LUMA Arles with Heni Publishing London ; bilingual french-english ; 2018

• GILBERT & GEORGE - THE MEANING OF THE EARTH - author : Wolf Jahn ; Hurtwood Press ; 2022

• THE COMPLETE POSTCARD ART OF GILBERT & GEORGE - author : Michael Bracewell ; Prestel Verlag ; 2011

• GILBERT & GEORGE - author : Jan Debbaut, Michael Bracewell, Marco Linvingstone, Ben Borthwick ; Tate ; 2007

 • THE WORLD OF GILBERT AND GEORGE : THE STORYBOARD - author : Gilbert & George ; Enitharmon Press ; 2002

 

IN FRENCH

• GILBERT & GEORGE - CONVERSATION INTIME - author : François Jonquet ; Grasset ; 2016

• L’ŒUVRE EN IMAGES (1971-2005) - artists : Gilbert & George ; author : Rudy Fuchs ; traduction : Cécile Dutheil de La Rochère ; Gallimard ; 2007