As Living Sculptures, Gilbert & George offered two pieces of advice to their live audiences every morning: ‘Sit on the edge of your bed and think, “What do I want to say to the world today?”’ and ‘Fuck the teachers!’
The Meaning of the Earth offers a retrospective on the lives and work of the relentlessly controversial artists Gilbert & George, placing them within the context of twentieth-century British culture. Wolf Jahn tells the story of how Gilbert & George found their identity in opposition to pervasive ideas around social conformity and religion after meeting in 1967.
The artists staged an internal revolution, mining their psyches to create visionary and unwaveringly modern art. The ‘two people but one artist’ ask the questions that gnaw at us all: ‘Where do we come from?’, ‘Who are we?’ and ‘Where are we going?’ The book meditates on the artists’ role in this century, connecting their beginnings as Living Sculptures to their pictorial work of today.
The Meaning of the Earth is a continuation of Jahn’s 1989 work, The Art of Gilbert & George. A playful philosophical interrogation of Gilbert & George’s work that truly grasps its cosmic scale.
‘The Meaning of the Earth, Wolf Jahn’s new book, explores the vision of our Art like no one has ever done before. Congratulations Wolf! Everyone loves this amazing and beautiful book. It is a masterpiece.’
– Gilbert & George
Exclusive signed copies are available from Hurtwood’s shop.
Text by Wolf Jahn.
Design by Billie Temple.
25 x 20 cm, portrait.
Published by Hurtwood Press.
Born in Stuttgart in 1955, Wolf Jahn is a freelance writer. Over the past forty years, Jahn has written extensively about the works of Gilbert & George and is the author of The Art of Gilbert & George (Thames & Hudson, 1989).
Gilbert & George began creating art together in 1967 when they met at Central St Martins School of Art, and from the beginning – in their films and LIVING SCULPTURE performances – they have appeared as figures in their own art. The ‘two men, one artist’ believe that everything is potential subject matter for art. They address social issues and taboos, challenging what might be considered ‘good taste’. Implicit in their art is the idea that an artist’s sacrifice and personal investment is a necessary condition of art. The backdrop and inspiration for much of their art is the East End of London where Gilbert & George have lived and created art for nearly 50 years.
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