Stranger Than Fiction

02.04.2012 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

The time of the YBAs feels like an eon ago. It’s a feeling galvanised by the simmering of retrospectives for artists who were part of the irreverent gang. Last year saw a retrospective of Tracey Emin’s work at the Hayward and for 2012 it will be hard to avoid Damien Hirst, once his show hits the Tate Modern this week.

Meanwhile at the Whitechapel, Gillian Wearing is the subject of a major retrospective of her work. Wearing as an artist will be forever tied to the golden years of the Nineties; winning as she did, the Turner Prize in 1997 as New Labour and a new focus on British culture came to the fore.

Her work also documented the change in how individuals engage with society. With its confessional quality, Wearing’s work has long negotiated the lines between public and private.

Influenced by Seventies documentaries, she has a history of taking private individuals and unveiling them as objects of interest. Her ability to persuade subjects to make private secrets public foreshadowed the reality TV generation, proving fact is every bit as beguiling as fiction.

Gillian Wearing is at the Whitechapel Gallery until 17 June 2012


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