In The Red Sculpture Album (#1-11) the artists themselves, Gilbert & George, are the work of art. The album derives directly from their performances, in which they gave a stilted rendition of the English music hall anthem “Underneath the Arches.” The performance entitled Singing Sculpture is on view in Gallery 1.
Their art is rooted in paradox. The deliberately plain quality of their dress has anonymous clerical overtones, and in its leveling of individuality, contrasts sharply with the brilliant red of their faces and hands. Their positions, changing from image to image, create the impression of an impassive ritual or dance. Somehow, like Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin, they contrive to be ludicrous and decorous at the same time. They are “living sculptures,” making art by being art.
In their statements Gilbert & George have constantly emphasized dedication to their task, exclaiming in mock piety, “We would like to say to you, ‘Art, how happy we are to be your sculptors. Oh, Art, please let us relax with you. To be with Art is all we ask.’ ”