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Indepth Arts News:

"Gillian Wearing Explores the Complexity of Human Relationships"
2001-07-17 until 2001-10-07
Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea
Santiago, , ES Spain

The complexity of human relationships is one of the central themes of Gillian Wearing's work. This British artist, born in Birmingham in 1963 and winner of the prestigious Turner Prize in 1997, draws her inspiration from the formats of television documentaries and popular confession-type programmes, turning to photography and the use of video to explore the most intimate aspects of our relationship with others and with our own self. Her exceptionally frank work provides a sober picture of some aspects of contemporary British life, although they could easily be extrapolated to most of western society.

Wearing's impartial attitude makes her worthy of the respect of the characters she takes on, such as the homeless alcoholics in Drunk (2000), or the people who relive their childhood or adolescent problems in Trauma (2000).

Although in some of her works, among them, Sacha and Mum (1996), actors intervene, Wearing tends to seek out the collaboration of real people. When filming Signs that say what you want them to say and not Signs that say what someone else wants you to say (1992-93), she stopped passers-by, asking them to write down the first thing that came into their heads. She has never photographed or filmed a person without asking their permission first.

Wearing herself comes under public scrutiny by participating in some of the works. In Dancing in Peckham (1994) she dances for half an hour in the middle of a shopping centre.

When Wearing works in the editing room, she manipulates the images and the texts filmed, turning sometimes to techniques such as dubbing NULL as happens in 2 into 1 (1997) or in 10-16 (1997) NULL or rewinding the image, as in Sacha and Mum. These techniques underline Wearing's decision-making process throughout the creative task, the reinterpretation and representation of the events.

Wearing's work reminds us that art's role consists of fomenting our perception of reality, of calling into question what we think we know to be true, our acceptance of what is conventional, our taboos, and our way of putting the world around us into compartments.

IMAGE:
Gillian Wearing
Signs that say what you want them to say and
not Signs that say what someone else wants you to say,
1992-1993


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