JANE AND LOUISE WILSON  (“The Twins”) are fast becoming the most successful double act in British art since Gilbert and George. 1999 is shaping up to be their annus mirabilis. Having already landed their first solo - or duo - exhibition in a prominent public museum (“Jane and Louise Wilson: New Work” opens at the Serpentine Gallery on September 14) they also find themselves on the shortlist for this year’s Turner Prize. The bookmakers have installed them among the ante-post favourites, a spokesman for the William Hill organisation remarking that they are fancied to do well because their work is “accessible to the public”.

This was possibly a reference to their 1995 video installation, Normapaths, which certainly was – given the frequently unwatchable nature of much video art – a most exceptionally accessible creation, being a  bizarrely artful reworking of the kung-fu movie genre in which the twins themselves appeared wearing black PVC catsuits reminiscent of those so memorably sported by Diana Rigg in The Avengers. Admirers of the
Wilsons’ work may recall that, after much mock-fighting and a certain amount of mutual caressing – during which, curiously, the protagonists’ hands suddenly turned into feet - one of them set fire both to herself and her handbag. There is rarely a dull moment in the world of the Wilson twins.

At 32, Jane and Louise Wilson have been members of the YBA (Young British Artists) scene for several years, but only recently have they begun to be seen as leaders rather than camp followers. They made a fleeting, albeit tantalising appearance in Matthew Collings’ affectionate portrait of the British art world, Blimey! (1997), as a strange and slightly disconcerting pair of eccentrics:

“The twins did spooky photographs and videos of themselves in out of...

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