de Volkskrant, The Netherlands, Wednesday 22 March 2006

Warm living room in grim world
Marina de Vries

English translation: Heleen Schröder

‘The sweetest boys in Rotterdam’, the duo Gil (Nader) and Moti (Porat) was called seven years ago. They had then been in the Netherlands for just a year. They are still exceptionally sweet – at least, it is rare to meet people with such a great desire for friendship and fraternity.
Gil & Moti, who are, just like the British duo Gilbert & George, partners in life and art, can usually be found in their home gallery which doubles as living room. Last weekend they made their first appearance in the Amsterdam gallery De Praktijk.
The gallery has been transformed into the cloyingly sweet living room of Crazy Annie. The walls are covered in pastel coloured drawings and paintings, and the space is filled with brocade folding screens, embroidered t-shirts and underpants hanging from a washing line, cozily upholstered television sets and lamps decorated with shells.
Gil and Moti present themselves as artists who are not attached to one discipline, and they paint just as easily as they embroider, photograph, write, make installations, live and perform. In this they approach art, just like the eccentric Gilbert & George, with exceptional playfulness and mischief.
Where Gilbert & George offended their scrupulous audience by literally dropping their trousers on their billboard photos and showing their excrement, Gil & Moti provoke by presenting themselves in a project like Love Stories.
They go looking for a new boy toy, with whom they want to form a threesome. The boy toy is not chosen randomly. The Jewish-Israeli duo is looking for a Palestinian. The products in the living room form, in portraits and letters, a record of this search, which lead to several new friends and or lovers.
Taken individually the products are barely successful. At best they are cheerful, naive but also mediocre paintings. At worst – three intertwined rakes into which a face is folded, a heart with three curves – it is cheesy nonsense.
But just as Gilbert & George made a serious effort to abolish the boundaries between high and low culture, so Gil & Moti mount a serious effort to teach society a lesson.
Because it takes some doing to report so openly on your sexual orientation and escapades, precisely at a moment when studies show that gay people feel increasingly unsafe.
It takes some doing, while Israel is increasing the pressure on the Palestinians, to show how beautiful, cheerful, versatile, intellectual, seductive and indeed just-like-us our Palestinian neighbours are.
And it takes some doing to counter the increasingly grim world with a heavenly living room, overflowing with warmth, hospitality and coziness.
It is a pity that, just as the works cannot function without each other, they really cannot function without the presence of the artists either. In order to perfect the sculpture, they would have to move into the gallery while the exhibition is on.

Selected Essays
Selected Reviews
de volkskrant- Merel Bem
ArtAsiaPacific Magazine- Rathsaran Sireekan
Mister Motley- Juul van Stokkem
Turun Sanomat- Pia Parkkinen
Puntkomma- Hugo Bongers
de Volkskrant- Jeanne Prisser
derStandard- Wiltrud Hackl
Stavanger Aftenblad- Trond Bogen
Politiken- Sara Maria Glanowski
Metropolis M- Jaring Dürst Britt
NRC- Manon Braat
Kunstbeeld - Wim van der Beek
de Volkskrant- Marina de Vries
New York Arts Magazine- Rodrigo Tisi