Yesterday saw the opening of a major new retrospective exhibition by the much revered YBA, Gillian Wearing. The Turner Prize winner’s show at the Whitechapel Gallery features mixed media images and video content of the people of Britain. Drawn from the techniques of reality TV, fly-on-the-wall documentaries and theatre, Wearing’s work explores the relationship between our public and private personas.

As always, Wearing presents an intimate view into her own public and private lives.  The exhibition opens with her 1994 work ‘Dancing in Peckham’, a film of the artist dancing in a South London with a combination of Nirvana rocking out to some very interesting disco moves. Each public presentation of the artist reveals herself in a different guise. Her exploration of anonymity in the public eye is interesting. The themes of performance and liberation through disguise continue throughout the exhibition. Wearing encourages her public portraits to dress up or take on a persona in a bid to facilitate freedom in a very public setting.

Highlights include Wearing’s 1992 series ‘Signs that what you want them to say, and not Signs that say what someone else wants you to say’. The piece features members of the public, holding placards revealing private facts and thoughts about their inner self. The exhibition, although comprised of different themes and techniques, presents a survey of Britain today. Often focused on the dispossessed or traumatised, Wearing presents a political message. Her ability to capture what lurks beneath the public exterior unearths the extraordinary in us all.

Gillian Wearing is at the Whitechapel Gallery now till 15 June.

Source: THINK-WORK-PLAY.COM