say what you see

28 Mar

Last night we had the pleasure of attending the opening of Gillian Wearing’s new exhibition at the Whitechapel gallery covering an array of the Turner prize winning artist’s video and photographic work.

I’ll happily admit that I sometimes find video pieces a little difficult to get my head round, and some of these definitely fell into this category for me. “10–16”, where adults lip synch to children’s voices, is entertaining and slightly sinister in equal measures..

What I was really looking forward to was her photography work – especially the series “Signs that say what you want them to say, and not Signs that say what someone else wants you to say“.

Photo: Gillian Wearing

These photographs taken in 1992 cover a whole spectrum of characters across the capital. The contrasts and unexpected nature of individual thoughts are really engaging, and now 20 years later also provides a really interesting piece of insight into the “state of the nation” at that time.

The contrasts of the actual and the presumed also made me think of this video from last year, where a team stopped Londoners in the street and asked them what they were listening to.. also pleasing that on the whole the music listened to by Londoners is of a reasonably high standard (in my humble opinion!)

The other reason you should visit the gallery is to see the Government Art Collection – this 4th display from the 13,500+ pieces that the government owns has been curated by members of staff (PAs, cleaners, IT managers etc.) from No.10 Downing St. who experience the art every day. And I have to agree with Diane, a PA at No.10, that this piece by John Virtue in the display really does stop you in your tracks.

Whitechapel Gallery 28 March-17 June 2012


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