Gilbert & George: The Urethra Postcard Pictures

Dazed Digital recently conducted an interview with artist duo Gilbert Proesch & George

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Dazed Digital recently conducted an interview with artist duo Gilbert Proesch & George Passmore, better known as Gilbert & George, regarding the act’s latest exhibition. Having worked together for over 40 years, both expand a bit further in this interview regarding their gripes with religion and their undying love of postcards. An excerpt form the piece is offered below.

One of the things I think is really interesting about postcards is that they are such an emotional form of communication…

George: It’s an extraordinary form of communication.
Gilbert: It’s so universal, even.
George: All the famous modern art is mostly only seen through postcards. Think about how many Van Gogh postcards there are… just hundreds of thousands.

When you write on the back of a postcard you generally hope to engender an emotional response. Is that one of the things you find attractive about them?

Gilbert: I think everyone has an emotional incident in their lives related to postcards, just as everyone has something related to the telephone.

George: They are not so personal any more, though. They are more abstract. The early postcard piece that we did more than 35 years ago were done with old postcards that are very emotional and nostalgic, and there were more subjects in some ways than now.

Gilbert: One hundred years ago, every street in London had its own postcard – you could buy postcards of Brick Lane.

Really?

George: Very good ones in fact.

Gilbert: And of things like ‘Whitehall From The South’ and ‘Whitehall From The North’ – they don’t exist anymore. The Cenotaph was a very commonly purchased postcard a hundred years ago.

George: There were even close-ups of soldiers fighting in the wars – amazing postcards of bombs and tanks… and actors.

Gilbert: Every popular singer had his own postcard. Extraordinary.

George: It’s quite interesting because they are becoming more abstract in some ways and combined with the sexual ones they cause the right kind of irritation.

With the sexual ones in the show… Do you try to give them heroic status so that everything is seen on one level?

Gilbert: Sure… celebrating them – we want to be inclusive. Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square and Westminster Abbey are not London – you need the other bit as well. It’s amazing that within such a limited range of subjects – any postcard that has a Union Jack in it was one criteria, any telephone box card that wasn’t boring was another one – there is still an amazing range of stuff. There are underpants, there are horses, there are churches, government buildings, telephone boxes…

George: One postcard wouldn’t mean anything on its own but together they created this idea of the urethra, the piss-hole.

The interview in its entirety can be read here.

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