Gilbert and George were young once! Though they were born in the early 40′s, we are so used to their recent work that it is a surprise to see the artists as young men in their early 30′s as they walk through verdant landscapes describing in drawings and narative a day in their lives from “The Cold Morning Light” to the “Chill of the Evening”.
These huge early works in charcoal bring our intrepid artists and the landscapes from the London parks into the Lévy Gorvy Gallery in the heart of Mayfair. Just as medieval tapestries, which from a distance have similar grain to the drawings, are often are records of events, the drawings are records of Gilbert and George’s “The Singing Sculpture”, presented at the Sonnabend Gallery in New York in 1971, only a few years after they had met and started working together at St Martin’s School of Art in London. They are drawings, tapestries, scenery backdrops and records of the event in 23 panels which have been assembled together in London for the first time, from collections around the world. In Gilbert and George’s terms, they are not drawings, but are sculptures that support their thesis of “art for everyone”.
Moving from the leafy green landscape of London parks to cacti from the arid dessert, Guido Drocco and Franco Mello’s cactus was designed a year after Gilbert & George’s performance drawings. Superficially, they could not be more different, the cactus having become an icon of 1970′s Italian design, but there are links – both artists and designers were seeking to experiment and transform art and design at a period of great change. At Ordovas, a short walk from the Lévy Gorvy Gallery, in “Marilyn, Flowers, Lips, Gun, Mirror, Cactus”, pop art by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Tom Wesselmann peeks out from behind a forest of cacti, blurring the boundaries between art and design, as Gilbert and George were blurring the boundaries between art, performance and life.