Sex, soul and artificial art: Gilbert & George issue 10 Commandments to young artists

By Culture24 Reporter | 16 September 2013

Art pair Gilbert & George have received Honorary Doctorates in Art from Plymouth University, issuing students with an advice list which includes style tips, anti-conformist guidance and an endorsement of “artificial art”.

A photo of two men in orange gowns receiving doctorates in a university ceremony
Gilbert & George take the honours in Plymouth© Alan Stewart
Recalling their original Laws of the Sculptors, written when their career was in its infancy in 1969, the artists took it in turns to read four statements, ranging from words on mental robustness (“make the world believe in you and make them pay heavily for this privilege”) to time management (“The Lord chisels still, so don’t leave your bench for long”).

They then produced a follow-up 10 Commandments, devised during the 1990s, covering sex, freedom, personal reinvention and matters of the soul.

The occasion was a return to Plymouth for George Passmore, who was born in the city in 1942, 25 years before he met Gilbert Proesch at Central Saint Martins School of Art.

Passmore and Proesch have previously been given awards by institutions including London Metropolitan University and the University of East London.

Organisers in Plymouth said they had been chosen for their championing of “art for all”, which the university considered “central to the practice” of its art departments.

The Laws of the Sculptors:

  • Always be smartly dressed, well-groomed, relaxed, friendly , polite and in complete control
  • Make the world believe in you and make them pay heavily for this privilege
  • Never worry, assess, discuss or be critical, but remain quite, respectful and calm
  • The Lord chisels still, so don’t leave your bench for long

The 10 Commandments:

  • Thou shalt fight conformism
  • Thou shalt be the messengers of freedoms
  • Thou shalt make use of sex
  • Thou shalt reinvent life
  • Thou shalt grab the soul
  • Thou shalt give love
  • Thou shalt create artificial art
  • Thou shalt have a sense of purpose
  • Thou shalt not know exactly what thou dost, but thou shall do it
  • Thou shalt give something back

More pictures:

A photo of two men in orange gowns receiving doctorates in a university ceremony
© Alan Stewart
What do you think? Leave a comment below.

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