Gillian Wearing - Family Stories: SMK, Denmark
Gillian Wearing is interested in real life. In her art she gives perfectly ordinary people a voice, examining and documenting the relationships between them. SMK now presents an exhibition featuring the Turner Prize-winning artist.
Throughout her career, British artist Gillian Wearing (b. 1963) has been keenly interested in people and in human relationships. In her works she gives perfectly ordinary people a voice – documenting private narratives, examining family constructs and exploring the boundaries between the private and the public.
She often incorporates herself or members of her family directly in her art, raising questions about how relationships with other people help shape our identity.
The exhibition shows a range of Wearing’s works of art created from 1992 to the present day. They mainly consist of photographs and video pieces in which she uses image formats that are commonly seen in everyday life: family photographs, snapshots, TV shows and home videos.
“I just look for situations where there is an element of truth. People can’t relate to a made-up fantasy of what a family is; they might aspire to it for themselves. But if they are to view someone else’s situation then they want something that is honest,” says Gillian Wearing.
The works in the exhibition all centre on families and family life. This also holds true for a new piece that specifically aims to prompt public discussion: A Real Danish Family, an art project involving 500 Danish families, a jury and large-scale public bronze sculpture representing a real Danish family.
Gillian Wearing’s sculpture
Gillian Wearing set out to find “a real Danish family”, which will ultimately be depicted as a life-sized bronze sculpture erected in a central Copenhagen location.
The project was first launched in the autumn of 2016 with a campaign inviting all families in Denmark to take part in the competition to be immortalised in bronze. Around 500 families signed up, and the Danish broadcasting corporation, DR, followed the entire process: From interviews with participating families across the country to the jury’s deliberations and the final choice of the winning family. DR’s three TV programmes about the project air on 2, 9 and 16 October 2017 on DR2.
The nationwide sculpture project was carried out as a collaboration between Gillian Wearing, Kunsthal Aarhus, DR and SMK, celebrating the many different types of family found in Denmark.
The winning family and the sculpture will be revealed on 13 October 2017 at SMK, coinciding with the opening of the exhibition Gillian Wearing – Family Stories. A Real Danish Family is supported by the Bikuben Foundation, the City of Copenhagen and the Danish Arts Foundation