Born in 1963 in Birmingham, Wearing present lives and works in London. She received a bachelor of technology degree in art & design from London’s Chelsea School of Art in 1987 and a BFA from Goldsmiths' College, University of London in 1990. An important member of the Young British Artists, Wearing was awarded the Turner Prize in 1997.

In 2012, Whitechapel Art Gallery in London presented a major retrospective of the artist’s work, which traveled to K20 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen in Düsseldorf, and to Pinakothek der Moderne’s Museum Brandhorst in Munich in 2013.  Wearing's permanent sculpture A Real Birmingham Family opened in 2014 in Centenary Square outside the new Library of Birmingham, UK.


Other important solo presentations include Gillian Wearing at the Pinakothek der Moderne in the Museum Brandhorst in Munich, Germany, Self Made at the 54th BFI London Film Festival (2010), Confessions: Portraits, Videos at Musée Rodin in Paris (2009), Living Proof at ACCA, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in Melbourne (2006), Snapshot at Bloomberg Space in London (2005), Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma in Helsinki, Finland (2004), and Mass Observation, which opened at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago in 2002 and traveled to the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and to Musée d'Art Contemporain de Montréal in Canada in 2003.