Gilbert & George: Post-Card Sculptures

For over twenty years the English artists Gilbert & George have worked together as one artist. They consider the creation of their lives as “living sculpture” essential to the meaning of their work. In the 1970s Gilbert & George commenced their exploration of the “Post-Card Sculpture” with groups of store-bought postcards assembled as grids in rich combinations of subject and form. “Modest yet seminal, the postcard pieces show the artists’ progress from witty nostalgia to seemingly random scrapbook-like arrangements to increasingly striking fusions of form and meaning,” (Roberta Smith, New York Times). The power of these works resides in the curious rapport between images; the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

In the past decade issues of sex, religion, and nature have played a prominent role in the work of Gilbert & George. The large photocopies for which Gilbert & George are well known and the post-card pieces converge in the Post-Card Sculptures from the series collectively titled “Twenty-Five Worlds.” These large gridded pictures are composed of kaleidoscopic patterns created by the repeated use of no more than four different postcard images. In these more recent works Gilbert & George have taken their postcard collages to the extremes of scale, aggressive palettes, and evocative subject matter.