Gilbert & George, Light Headed 1991

Gilbert & George
Light Headed 1991

Private collection

Increasingly, the artists began to take centre stage in their pictures once more. Although they occasionally depicted other people, they shifted away from the large ensembles of their 1980s pictures. This growing focus on themselves may reflect their sense of isolation after the death of so many friends from AIDS.

The use of garishly clashing colours in these pictures was deliberately anti-aesthetic, while their depiction of themselves was often gleefully grotesque. In CHRISTS, their bodies form the two arms of the cross while they stick out their tongues. In CITY FAIRIES, they appear in lurid green and pink in the guise of fairies, and bare their naked arses in a pose that seems intended to rob them of every last shred of dignity.