gilbert and george, you
are sane naughty people in
a mad dirty world.
The A-Z of Rationalism
E is for Evolution (n) a gradual change in the characteristics of a population of animals or plants over successive generations.
So, off we went to the Gilbert and George exhibition at The Tate Modern which was, quite frankly, brilliant. The layout documented their progress over the last forty years, during which they have evolved a style of assembling sometimes gigantic work using a tessellated grid system.
One section, from the eighties, confronts their concern with the AIDS outbreak, and this is examined via works featuring images of various bodily fluids.
I sat down to take in the spectacle and was approached by two Italian women.
‘Do you speak English?’ one of them asked.
‘Yes,’ I said. ‘How can I help?’
‘Could you tell me what ‘spunk’ means?’
‘Ah!’ I said, attempting to appear undiscomfited. ‘Well, it’s sperm.’
‘Yes. Sperm… semen… from men.’ I then realised that I was using my right hand to simulate a motion of masturbation, at which I attempted nonchalantly to hide the offending hand behind my back.
‘Ahhh!’ she said, as understanding dawned, and I reddened. ‘ Thank you. We thought it was spit, but I know now.’
‘You’re welcome,’ I said, and backed away to find the Ugly One who was gazing at a crucifix assembled from giant images of poo.
We bought some Gilbert and George postcards and a signed Exhibition poster before we set off to look around the abstract section, some of which was so abstract that I mistook three identical floor gratings for a Damien Hurst triptych.