Catalogue entry

Gilbert and George b.1943, b.1942

T01702 In the Bush 1972

½ in. black and white video tape recording, 16 minutes duration.
Purchased from Nigel Greenwood Inc. Ltd (Grant-in-Aid) 1972.

The video tape is accompanied by a printed certificate (11½x7¾ in.) which is not a part of the work but which may be exhibited at the same time that the tape is being played. The certificate which bears a still from the tape, describes it as a ‘Sculpture on Video Tape’. It is inscribed by the sculptors ‘Gilbert’ and ‘George’ and also with the number in the edition of 25 which is ‘1’.

Gilbert and George first worked with video in 1970 at the invitation of Gerry Schum and made ‘The Nature of Our Looking’ (Approximate duration 18 minutes.) He invited them to make another tape in 1972 and since they were anxious to work with him again they agreed to make three pieces. These three were all made at the same time, in the summer of 1972, and their respective lengths were agreed upon before recording began.

Gilbert and George’s initial concern with landscapes became confined to man-made or planned landscapes, such as the London parks, in about 1971. The site selected for ‘In the Bush’ was by a large tree in Kew Gardens, which appeared in ‘The Shrubberies’ (1972, charcoal on paper) shown in The New Art (Hayward Gallery, August-September 1972) and where they were photographed for the poster of the exhibition. This particular tree appealed to the sculptors for several reasons. They like ‘slightly foreign’ trees, and this one, with its ‘jungley’ look is also the wildest tree in Kew, its branches coming right down to the ground. Furthermore, from the base of the tree one has an excellent view of Syon House, on the other side of the river Thames, and the stone lion on the roof.

In the video tape George is carrying a walking-stick and Gilbert a glass. The sound track, which is from a BBC recording of bird sounds, was dubbed on later at ‘Art for All’.

Published in The Tate Gallery Report 1972–1974, London 1975.