Gilbert & George

EXISTERS (1984)

About this artwork

Many of Gilbert & George’s pictures in the 1980s include a cast of young men. Having installed special lighting equipment in their studio, they were able to capture images of the youths with a greater degree of control. “We devoted all our power to making them totally beautiful”, they have said. In pictures such as ‘Existers’, the youths are arranged into powerful compositions, living embodiments of potency and strength. Such depictions of young men aroused considerable hostility among critics, who accused Gilbert & George of being exploitative, and wrongly described the youths as rent boys or East End thugs.

  • title: EXISTERS
  • accession number: AR00505
  • artist: Gilbert & GeorgeEnglish (Gilbert Proesch born 1943; George Passmore born 1942)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Photograph
  • date created: 1984
  • measurements: 241.00 x 351.00 cm
  • credit line: ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
  • copyright: © GILBERT & GEORGE
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms

Gilbert & George

Gilbert & George

Italian-born Gilbert Proesch and Englishman George Passmore met and studied at St Martin's School of Art in London in 1967 and have made only collaborative works since then. In 1969 they performed the first of several 'living sculptures', which rapidly launched their international careers as leading British performance artists. Since the early 1970s they have concentrated on producing large-scale photo-pieces, usually with themselves as the central subject. Gilbert & George state that their aim is to make their art as accessible as possible and that their art and life are one and the same. They won the Turner Prize in 1986.