George was born in Devon, United Kingdom, in 1942. Gilbert was born in Italy in 1943, in a small village in the Dolomites. They met as students in the sculpture program at St. Martin’s School of Art, London, where they exhibited together and soon began to create art together. They adopted the identity of “living sculptures” in both their art and their daily lives, becoming not only creators but the art itself.

They established their reputation in 1969 with The Singing Sculpture. Standing together on a table, holding a plastic cane and a rubber glove, they danced and sang the Flanagan and Allen standard “Underneath the Arches”—a song in which two tramps describe the pleasures of sleeping rough. It was a telling choice, harking back to pre-war England and traditions of vaudeville, while also identifying with the fringes of society. Gilbert & George were invited to present The Singing Sculpture all over the world, sometimes for eight hours at a stretch. Realizing, however, that they could reach only a handful of people at a time, they began to create films and pictures that could extend the idea of living sculpture without requiring their physical presence.



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