Gilbert & George, ‘Fates’ 2005
Gilbert & George
Fates 2005
© Gilbert and George

In 2005, Gilbert & George were invited to represent Great Britain at the Venice Biennale, where they unveiled the GINKGO pictures. Each picture incorporates the symmetrical leaves of the Ginkgo tree, which they collected in Gramercy Park when visiting New York. The tree flourishes in urban environments and smells, the artists noted, ‘of shit’. The pictures incorporate images drawn from contemporary street culture, such as Asian kids in hoodies, while the artists present themselves as grotesque figures, shown flicking V-signs to the viewer in FATES.

The selection of PERVERSIVE PICTURES in this room continue to examine themes of aggression and intolerance, notably in CHICHIMAN. As the artists explain, ‘You don’t know what a chichiman is? It’s what they call you just before they kill you in the West Indies for being queer. And in the rap songs. ‘Kill the chichiman.’’