Germaine Greer has a fascinating take on Gilbert and George in today’s Guardian. The article is, I think rightly, less than warm about the work, which she seems to find as pompous, vacuous and posturing as I do. She has some sharp and entertaining things to say about the devotion with which women visitors gaze on a world in which they simply don’t exist.
But what she’s really interested in is the way the work reveals the mechanism that’s enabled the couple’s survival: the annihilation of Gilbert. After having said that ‘this couple, like every other devoted couple, amounts to less than the sum of its parts’ (hmm), in the final paragraph, she comments:
Gilbert and George do not answer when asked if they are lovers; they might as sensibly be asked if they are haters, for they are everything to each other. What their art says about coupledom is terrifying, for the suggestion that Gilbert has been annihilated is derived from the work itself. Gilbert is the tentative one whose eyes are most often cast down or up, evading the viewer’s gaze. George wears glittering glasses; Gilbert seems blind as a mole.