Central to the films, videos, photographs, and installations of British artist Gillian Wearing (born in Birmingham in 1963, lives in London) is the question of how the individual shapes his or her own existence. The subtitle “Frontstage/Backstage,” derived from role theory in sociology, refers to the discrepancy between public and private presentations of the self which is thematized in the exhibition.
Gillian Wearing, the recipient of the Turner Prize in 1997, represents a quieter and more reflective position within the group known as the Young British Artists (YBAs), once the focus of so much scandal. Foregrounded in her work is an examination – one that is critical of the contemporary media – of Society and its taboos, of issues of identity and collective traumata, which is to say: not of the artist’s expressive gestures or the mental state of the individual. Gillian Wearing uses photography and film to realize investigative projects which she translates into a visually overwhelming image language. Simultaneously moving and analytical, her works open up an incisive dialogue between work and public, asserting themselves as a contemporary development of the classical portrait medium. The exhibition, organized in cooperation with the Whitechapel Gallery in London, is the first overview of works by this British artist.