Stephen Gilbert (15 January 1910 – 12 January 2007) was a painter and sculptor from Scotland. He was one of the few British artists fully to embrace the avant garde movement in Paris in the 1950s.
At one time he even was considered to be one of the members of the COBRA mouvement, but now, some 60 years after COBRA most critics think Gilbert knew the Cobra artists but do not consider him to be one them. Still his paintings and drawings deserve to be appreciated. His almost child like works are close to Cobra, but some of his more abstract works are typical for the end of the Fifties. It really depends upon the work. Some are great art and others are far from that qualification. The galerie 1900-2000 tried to push his works into the art market in 1987 with a special Stephen Gilbert exhibition ( catalogue avaiable at http://www.ftn-books.com), but was not successfull. If you like his works, the works by Stephen Gilbert cab be found at smaller auction houses for still reasonable prices than the great CObra names fetch for thier art.
I have a large collection of Gilbert & George publications . Small and large ones, artist books and retropective catalogues. I asked myself why i am fascinated by these artists. My fascination started when Rudi Fuchs presented Gilbert & George at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and has grown since. The result is….. numerous publications in my inventory all on this illustrous artist couple.
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The ones of Art & Project and the Stedelijk Museum are maybe the most scarce and wanted ones, But now i have acquired , what is perhaps the most accessable book and best introduction to the art of Gilbert & george. It is the Robin Dutt book , published by PWP who shows the works of G&G over several decades and perhaps more important, the development of their art. The book is now available at www.ftn-books.com but more important is, that it feels like their partnership is now complete and any new work is a repetition of earlier ones. Gilbert & George have established themselves as one of the truly great modern art artist and it i snow time for every art lover to recognize their importance and learn to appreciate their works.
Just like a scene from your favourite rom-com, Gilbert and George first locked eyes in the halls of Central Saint Martins in 1967, where the two studied sculpture. Dubbing the encounter as love at first sight, the duo collaborated on both 3D as well as 2D works – although they would continue to refer to all artworks as sculpture. Exploring themes of religion, sexuality and identity across a wide range of media, Gilbert and George have stayed relevant beyond the confines of the elitist art. They married in 2008, having spent over 4 decades together in the art world that they collectively rebel against.
Followers of this blog must know by now that i have acquired a large collection of Art & Project Bulletins, publications and invitations. Among these invitations , many are considered to be true Mail Art and Art & project was one of the first galleries to communicate with its subscribers in this way. From the first 100 of exhibitions held at the gallery many are considered to be iconic, but some stood out. One of these exhibitions is still a classic in the history of the gallery. It is the 1970 Gilbert & George exhibition. First there was the bulletin send from Japan. with drawings of Gilbert by George and of George by Gilbert and secondly i must mention the invitation by van Beijeren and Ravesteijn. Handwriting in print to made it as personal as possible. Here is the example i have currently in my inventory which is addressed to Kees Schippers, the dutch conceptual artist.
The blog of yesterday reminded me that Piero Manzoni was not the only artist who used faeces as a subject in their art. Gilbert & George is another example who used the subject in a far more explicit way than Manzoni did. With the canned Manzoni multiple it is still uncertain if the contents is the same as the label indicates , however with Gilbert & George it is no question at all, because the pictures show the subjects as they are.
Still the composition and execution are 100% recognizable Gilbert & George, but personally i like the more society and critical related subjects better and far more pleasing to look at, but just to show that many more artists used the subject it is nice to devote a blog on these 2 great artists.
I first encountered the works by David Robilliard at the exhibition which was held at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam in 1993. I learned that he was diagnosed HIV positive and died from aids in 1988. Before that time he was one of the models of Gilbert & George and found for them others who were willing to pose for them.
During his life he was not that succes full, but after his death his drawings and paintings were finding their way into museums, art dealers and collectors. Resulting in the 1993 exhibition curated by Rudi Fuchs who is a long time friend of Gilbert & George. They must have persuaded him to organize a Robilliard exhibition because on the invitation for the Anthony d’Offay presentation they described Robilliard as “the new master of the modern person. Looking, thinking, feeling, seeing, bitching – he brilliantly encapsulates the ‘Existers’ spirit of our time. This must have been for Fuchs the trigger to organize the exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum in 1993 and publish the book A ROOMFUL OF HUNGRY LOOKS.
Robilliard is strongly related to the 80’s and together with his partner Andrew Heard, they are two of those eighties artists who deserve to be remembered and must not fall into oblivion.( both books are available at www.ftn-books.com
Artist/ Author: Oliver Boberg
Title : Memorial
Publisher: Oliver Boberg
Measurements: Frame measures 51 x 42 cm. original C print is 35 x 25 cm.
signed by Oliver Boberg in pen and numbered 14/20 from an edition of 20