GILBERT & GEORGE

SIGNS FROM THE STREET, SHOUTS FROM THE CHORUS

Contemporary art’s original living sculptures, Gilbert & George, are freezing fleeting moments in a life moving all too fast.

By Dan Rule APR 2015

George Passmore has concerns. Worries. Foibles. Or at least that’s the impression. Authority is zero in contemporary London. The CCTV, the signs, the warnings – it all amounts to nothing. Men still piss in the street. Dogs still shit. Vomiting occurs from time to time.

“Outside of London, no one’s pissing in the street and they don’t need signs for that either,” he asserts in his impeccably measured, hushed, British accent. “In London you have all these signs on the street, but they’re still pissing. The signs don’t stop people doing it.” There’s a pause, a sudden cackle from his creative and life partner Gilbert Proesch, who sits beside him, a smile replacing what is, for the most part, a steely gaze.

It’s the inconsistency of it all, you see, that gets Passmore’s goat. “There’s vomit outside in the street almost every morning, but there’s no signs against vomiting,” he forwards, stifling a smile as he adjusts his perfectly circular spectacles. “They have signs against dog shit, but no signs against dogs pissing. There are signs against men pissing, but no signs against men shitting.” A guffaw from Proesch. “There’s just this huge tangle of regulations.”

We’re stationed in a long, hallway-like space adjoining the Singapore offices of the duo’s Berlin art dealer Matthias Arndt, perched on the top floor of a restored colonial building in the Gillman Barracks precinct. Proesch and Passmore are as resplendent as ever in their signature light grey and beige suits, as we ... Subscribe to read this article in full

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