26 February 2007

"Does this couple, like every other devoted couple, amount to less than the sum of its parts?"

In The Guadian today there is a piece by Germaine Greer on the "major" Gilbert & George exhibition now hung at the Tate Modern in London. Let's just say Greer doesn't much like "unanimous couple" or their"art" and finds the spectators and art world impressarios who "enable" the pair more or less incoomprehensible. Since I'd never heard of the couple (it?) before all the recent press, most of which I've ignored, I can't really say terribly much about their work. (Although, the notion of "theory" without subject really does deserve cute trading cards like the one I've lifted here. It allows everyone to remain oh, so ironic.) In any case, I think Greer's essay is an insightful reflection on the nature of creative collaboration and interpersonal devotion. Equality anyone?

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

- the most important point made in the article you refer to is that the partnership is unequal: one dominates the other - completely.

Best, Sean.

26 February, 2007 15:19  
Blogger Jim Johnson said...

Hence my closing rhetorical question. I think that the relaitonship between the two, as a put on is one thing even if it is too cute and clever to be terribly interesting; as a sincere reflection of their actual relationship, is not something I find particularly subversive or radical or whatever. I really don't care how people lead their lives - that is up to them. But I do not see anything especially worth putting on public display here, much less anything to get all worked up about. They belong on a playing card.

Consider the "hook" in the Rachel Cohen interview piece from The Guardian that I link to:

"Ask a question and, to your right, George will offer some piece of gnomic wisdom topped off with a dash of mild smut while, to your left, Gilbert will titter or splutter or make his own naughty joke in an effort to back up his friend. Then, as you struggle to grasp what it is that they actually mean, the two of them will fall eerily silent. Their marmoset eyes are always on you, which would be scary if they weren't so invincibly charming."

And here is what my dictionary offers as a definition of marmoset: "marmoset >noun a small tropical American monkey with a silky coat and a long tail. -ORIGIN Old French marmouset 'grotesque image'."

That seems just about right to me - and hardly charming.

26 February, 2007 16:34  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its seems that recently they have become an institution here in the U.K. And I mean this in a derogatory sense.

Though I think their early work , in the 60's, is rather interesting - Historicaly interesting - they appear now as little more than a tribute to themselves (and tribute bands, being, seeing, are surely one of the seven deadly sins!).

Best, Sean.

26 February, 2007 18:39  

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