Skip to navigation Skip to main content
Dead Boards # 8 by Gilbert & George is a series of photos in their London home.

Gilbert & George
Dead Boards #8, 1976

What does this work of art tell us?

Listen to this article

We can answer this question by looking for the core of the image.

Gilbert and George confuse us because they have worked for over 40 years as ‘one artist’, which represents both the subject and the object of their work. This work of art demonstrates how an overall picture produces its own meanings, how a constantly expanding world is created.

The setting is wooden panelling in their London home. In this serial photography, their view constantly takes a different perspective of the room. Change of meaning by changing the shape. Meaning is produced by grouping together a series of images. This interior study of a dilapidated empty room filled with isolated individuals is characterised by melancholy where concepts such as dead, grey and lost are tangible.

Even when the figures change position, the same walls are repeated which contributes to their claustrophobic intensity. With this, Gilbert and George are opening a new way of thinking not to look for the essence behind the individual image, but to enhance the relationships between the photos, thus leaving the interpretation open. This twist is refreshing and is related to the principle of the avant-garde itself.