The London Evening Standard profiles the art team at their London home:
They still live in the same East End house in Fournier Street that George moved into when it was a derelict wreck in 1968 and which they bought together in the early 1970s. The Georgian houses on this street are now wildly expensive (Tracey Emin lives across the road), but when the pair first came here it was an area for immigrants and the dispossessed, far away from the fashionable arty centre of Chelsea. George answers the door and shows me down a long passage filled with shelves of Victorian glass and out across a small yard to a large, tidy studio where Gilbert is waiting. We pause on the way to admire a salvaged drinking fountain engraved with the words ‘Jesus said if any man thirst let him come unto me and drink’. ‘Extraordinary!’ says George. ‘You would never be able to have that in public now, would you?’We sit down at a long table to talk. George is wearing a green tweed suit, Gilbert a matching one in brown. They both have Parker pens in their top pockets. They wear different ties: George’s is covered in images of their work and Gilbert’s is patterned with a street map of the East End. At first there is something unnerving about sitting opposite two men dressed the same, with their formal manners, George’s 1950s English and Gilbert’s Italian-accented speech. But they smile and laugh a lot, which is reassuring. […]
They eat all their meals out, breakfast and lunch in local cafés, including The Luxe (‘a trendy, young person’s place,’ says George), and dinner every evening at the Mangal Turkish restaurant in Dalston. They have the same food there for three months – currently lamb chops – and then change. They watch TV every day from five until six – they like Paul O’Grady – and then set off for dinner, George walking on a route that takes an hour and a half, Gilbert on a different, shorter route. This is the only time they spend apart. They are always dressed in their suits of course, and therefore find that people look at them or stop to talk. ‘[…] At home they work most days in the studio, making all their work themselves with the help of just one assistant (currently a young man from China – ‘he followed us back from Shanghai,’ says George). They don’t use the internet, except for booking tickets, and never answer the telephone, although their number has always been in the phone book.
Because they have spent most of their lives as a work of art, always on show, happy to be interviewed, keeping up appearances like royalty at all times, there has been an inevitable amount of speculation about their sincerity. Are they for real, or are we being hoodwinked by the biggest and longest art fraud ever perpetrated? Rumours as wild as the suggestion that they are not really gay and that George has a family living in Hampstead have dogged them for years. This surprises them. ‘We think we have been more frank in our work than any other artist,’ says George, referring to the hundreds of pictures that depict them together, holding hands, naked, surrounded by penises and other graphic homosexual imagery. He has a point. And wouldn’t somebody have noticed by now if they lived next door to George and his children?
Michael Bracewell, the cultural commentator, friend of the artists and author of several essays on their work, has no doubt about their integrity. ‘It’s not an act,’ he says. ‘I genuinely believe that. It’s 365 days a year. They don’t fly off to Mustique for Christmas.’ Adrian Searle, the art critic of The Guardian, has written of Gilbert and George ‘their secret is that there is no secret’.
Gilbert and George’s Postcards fromt eh Edge (London Evening Standard)