Gillian Wearing at IVAM Valencia
This, the second solo show in Spain for Gillian Wearing, provides an opportunity to look at the circular, layered approach to truth, identity, family, shame and love she brings with her work. It is essential to understand that Wearing is present herself, always. She places us at the centre of an expanded and extended time to show what is now, what was then, and what might be. While not a survey, this broad selection of recent and past work, acts as a generous three dimensional introduction to the consistent way she works and reoccurring preoccupations. As an artist Wearing takes responsibility for reinvesting and reinvigorating a range of formal notions. She draws established expectations of art out of a ground of understanding. The relation to the suggestive direction of historical painting is there but also, mainly, the key relation is to reality television and documentary…
Familiar patterns of behaviour emerge, we concentrate on the individual or vignette with respect and there is little time to stand back to gain an overview. Instead it is about being close to people, to each separate moment, where the line between imagination, act, and effect is almost invisible. There is a truthfulness to experience, from old to young to in-between and little space for orthodox ideology. Wearing's pre-emptive work about time passing as a woman and an artist mirrors her admiration for people who do what they feel they have to do regardless of norm, expectation or social imperative. Concentration on the individual does not mean work stops short of statement, however; love, family, betrayal and success are there. Wearing puts herself in the middle yet remains invisible in the many layered moments of encounter. Although you never see the artist asking, arranging, filming even preparing someone's head for casting, you feel she is registering an inner life so tangible that it needs to be brought out, or remain as fiction.
© Sacha Craddock - Mar. 2015