5 Facts about Gilbert & George

09 Nov 2021

During Frieze London, artists Gilbert & George welcomed Cultivist members into their studio for a special visit and a look at their work. Read on for a few interesting facts we learned about the pair during our time with them.

  • Gilbert and George were born a year apart: George (Passmore) in the English county of Devon in 1942 and Gilbert (Proesch) in a village in the Italian Dolomites in 1943. They met in the mid-1960s, as students at St Martin’s School of Art in London, and were soon collaborating on assignments. Even then, their work divided opinion. One of their tutors, the sculptor Anthony Caro, told them on graduation day "I hope very much that you won't succeed—but I rather think you might."
  • They bus their way to date night every Wednesday. 
  • They have had the same assistant, Yu, for 28 years and the 3 of them organise everything. 
  • They have breakfast every Saturday morning in the same Italian cafe, 30 min from their house with the Italian family that owns the coffee shop. 
  • The duo have lived in the same house—in the once-gritty, now-gentrified area of Spitalfields—for several decades. Life on the streets outside it has provided the subject matter for many of their works over the years, notably the Dirty Words Pictures series. They take all their inspiration from the streets and from what they see outside their house.