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A Message from the Sculptors Gilbert & George

Gilbert & George

London. Art for All. (Self-Published). 1969
An excellent example of Gilbert & George's extraordinary 'postal sculpture' including original photographs and 'sculpture samples'.

From the edition limited to 300 numbered copies, each numbered in sepia ink to rear cover.

'A Message from the Sculptors Gilbert & George', one of five 'postal sculptures' self-published by Gilbert & George in 1969, the first year of their production, is a portable wunderkammer of the artists’ existence, containing original photographs and morsels of personal detritus, together with italic expressions of tender sentiments.

The 5 original photographs, printed in monochrome in a small oblong format suitable for a picture album, show Gilbert & George in some of their best-known performance pieces: 'Underneath the Arches', from its first performance at the Slade School of Art in 1969; 'The Meal', a May 1969 performance with David Hockney; 'Dusk Stroll Piece 1969', showing the pair walking side by side in a twilit park; and 'Relaxing', depicting the very young collaborators lounging happily on a rooftop (and prominently inscribed in the negative 'A 1969 piece / A view of this city / sculpture. Relaxing [underlined] / took place on a bea- / utiful summer afternoon. / The sun shone mildly / down on the relaxing / sculptors [underlined]’). The fifth photograph is a double portrait of the artists in overlapping circles in opposing orientations.

The verso of the first leaf features a chart of ‘sculpture samples’ from Gilbert & George, actual specimens of their body paint, pipe tobacco, hair (visibly two types of hair), clothing, and egg yolk, each elegantly mounted under transparent discs, with Garamond captions.

Also includes two paragraphs of prefatory text. 'Gilbert and George, the sculptors, / are walking along a new road. / They left their little studio with / all the tools and brushes, taking / with them only some music, / gentle smiles on their faces and / the most serious intentions in the / world.'

The final leaf includes the publication details and the announcement: 'Gilbert and George have a wide range / of sculptures for you - singing sculpture, / interview sculpture, dancing sculpture, / meal sculpture, walking sculpture, / nerve sculpture, cafe sculpture, and / philosophy sculpture. / So do contact us.'

[Printed Matter. Die Sammlung Marzona in der Kunstbibliothek. The Marzona Collection at the Kunstbibliothek, p.120; Gilbert & George 1968 to 1980, pg. 61].
[2 leaves]. 8vo. (204 x 126 mm). Leaf with preface recto, verso with printed text and five mounted specimens, 'A Sculpture Sample Entitled Sculptors’ Samples: 1. G & G’s make-up. 2. G & G’s tobacco and ash. 3. G & G’s hair. 4. G & G’s coat and shirt. 5. G & G’s breakfast', leaf with publication details and loosely inserted are 5 original monochrome photographs of the artists in original plastic folder. (each c.50 x 70 mm). Original card wrappers with printed titles in black to front cover with elaborate masonic architectural decoration in relief and two small colour illustrations with silver highlights (Gilbert & George dressed as footballers), justification to rear cover.