press release

With the help of very simple alienation effects, British artist Gillian Wearing (who was born in Birmingham in 1963) introduces unusual and irritating effects into videos of everyday situations. Brushing aside all conventional rules and regulations, she queries cinematographic language and its rules in her videos, which are located somewhere between the documentary and the reality show.

In "Sacha and Mum" (1996) she depicts the meeting of a mother and daughter as an interaction of opposing emotions. By playing the soundtrack backwards, she alienates the portrayal of an emotional and violent scene between the daughter and mother and achieves a nightmarish concentration of maternal love and sadistic aggressiveness.

25 policemen and women are on view in the group portrait "Sixty Minutes Silence" (1996), who try to remain as immobile as possible for an hour in front of the camera. This seemingly endless pose not only presents the participants in a both a distancing and intimate light, the viewer also has a great deal of time to observe himself during the process of perception. Prolongation is used as an alienation effect and the transformation of photography into video eventually forces the spectator to see himself as an absurd element.

The use of alienation effects that evolve out of the use or suppression of identity or category establishing characteristics, or by the masking or revelation of seemingly humdrum situations, allows Gillian Wearing to achieve a contextual shift in intimate human behaviour and situations. Categories such as "the private and the public sphere" or "one's own and other people's" seem to suddenly vanish.

The exhibition in the Secession - the artist's first one-woman-show in Austria - will feature a selection of Gillian Wearing's work from the last three years.

Gillian Wearing