Gillian Wearing explores the disparities between public and private life, and notions of taboo, fear, and self-awareness. With the premise of portraiture as the basis of her practice, her earliest photographs candidly reveal individuals through their image and their words. In her recent works, Wearing’s subjects are in disguise. She interviews them in a manner that builds a sense of trust and often leads to the airing of unsettling narratives. To create Secrets and Lies, Wearing recorded the intimate confessions of ordinary people wearing mannequin-like masks and wigs to conceal their identities. The sitters were gleaned from an advertisement that Wearing placed online inviting volunteers to “confess all” on video. Presented in a heavily framed space, viewers are invited to enter this private, cryptic world. Provoking psychoanalysis and Judeo-Christian beliefs, Wearing provides a safe environment to contemplate the things that are better left unsaid.
Label from Eye to Eye: Looking Beyond Likeness, March 8–May 17, 2015