“The films and photographs of British artist Gillian Wearing (b. Birmingham, 1963) explore our public personas and private lives. This Turner Prize winner’s remarkable works draw on fly-on-the-wall documentaries, reality TV and the techniques of theater, to explore how we present ourselves to the world.
Wearing’s portraits and mini-dramas reveal a paradox, given the chance to dress up, put on a mask or act out a role, the liberation of anonymity allows us to be more truly ourselves.”
Signs that say what you want them to say and not what someone else wants you to say. (1992-1993)
“The capacity of photoconeptualism to dislodge the surface of everyday life through simple acts occurs in British artist Gillian Wearing’s ‘Signs that say you want them to say and not what someone else wants you to say’. For this work Wearing approached strangers on the streets of London and asked them to write something about themselves on a piece of white card; she then photographed them holding their texts. The resulting photographs revealed the emotional states and personal issues that were occupying the minds of these portrayed. “
“Giving the control of self-determination to the subject challenges the notion of traditional documentary portraiture. By making the thoughts of her subjects the focus of the portraits, Wearing proposes that the capturing of profundity and experience of everyday life is not intrinsic to the traditional styles or compositions of the documentary photograph, but is more effectively reached through artistic intervention and strategy.”
(From – the photograph as contemporary art By Charlotte Cotton Pages 30 & 31)