Tuesday 8 May 2012

Review of Gillian Wearing at the Whitechapel Gallery

Gillian Wearing

Whitechapel Gallery

28 March – 17 June 2012

Sacha, a young woman in her 20s, is cowering on the floor in her underwear. An older woman, her mother, comes over to comfort her, but then, unexpectedly, pulls her hair hard, shakes her, and pushes her back to the ground. She grabs the towel around the girl’s shoulders, almost suffocating her. The daughter’s cries are accompanied by those of a remorseful mother, looking on in shame, before holding her tight once more. They both cry together, hug, hold one another tight, laugh, all the while muffled by the deliberate sound distortion in the video recording. Then the cycle begins again. Chilling and disturbing, this scene of domestic violence, more commonly expected between a husband and wife, freezes one’s blood, transposed, as it is, on to a mother-daughter pairing, where one might expect unconditional and tender love. And such is the response the visitor might have to a great many pieces in the Whitechapel Gallery’s current survey show of over 100 works by Turner Prize winning artist Gillian Wearing. Famed for her vox populi interventions, such as the photo series Signs that say what you want them to say and not Signs that say what someone else wants you to say (1992-3) and the masked, video-taped confessions in Confess All On Video. Don’t Worry, You Will Be In Disguise. Intrigued? Call Gillian… (1994), Wearing plays with the distinction between public and private space and the masks which we all don every day before going outside to face the world. Her photographs and films are honest and revealing, unsettling and brutal, since, ironically, by putting both herself and others behind masks and hiding the external self, she unreservedly reveals what’s going on inside. 

To read the rest of this review, please go to: http://www.issuu.com/lucyannhobbs/docs/rovesandroams_issue_5

No comments:

Post a Comment