Gilbert and George on their epic Covid artworks: ‘This is an enormously sad time’

Gilbert and George on their epic Covid artworks: ‘This is an enormously sad time’

March 1, 2021

The artists have responded to the pandemic with comic, haunting works showing themselves being buffeted around a chaotic London. They talk about lines of coffins, illegal raves and ‘shameful’ statue-toppling

As they call themselves living sculptures, I can’t resist asking Gilbert and George what they think of all the statue-toppling that took place last year. When I ask for their verdict on the removal of public works that have been accused of celebrating slavery and colonialism, they are sceptical.

“We would call that shameful behaviour,” says George. “And it’s very odd – because normally those statues are totally invisible. Nobody ever looks at them. I remember, very near my home town, there’s a statue of Redvers Buller, the hero of the Boer war, surrounded by dying Zulus and things. And if you asked people in Exeter, ‘Where’s Buller’s statue?’, none of them knew. It’s a bit silly. Rewriting history is very silly.”

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