Gillian Wearing’s new work 10-16, commissioned for Chisenhale Gallery, consists of seven short films back projected onto a screen 18 feet wide. The films show adult actors lip-synching to a soundtrack taken from interviews that Wearing recorded with children between the age of 10 and 16. The disjuncture between the impact of an adult speaking with the cadence, words and even the bearing of a child is the initial focus of the work.
The films’ simple locations, such as a bus stop and a bathroom, provide a foil to the narratives, which are complex, compelling and at some points surreal. The films are moving, and yet the emotional punch they pack are subtle and finely judged. The awkwardness and incredible insight of early adolescence is evident, and challenges the viewer’s assumptions and nostalgia. In common with previous works such as Sacha and Mum and Sixty Minutes Silence, this new piece demonstrates Wearing’s deft handling of the complex relationships between the artist, viewer and subjects.
Gillian Wearing was born in Birmingham, England. After settling in London in 1983, she studied at the Chelsea School of Art and Goldsmiths College, University of London, earning a B.F.A. in 1990. Solo exhibitions of Wearing's work have been organized by Le Consortium in Dijon, France (1996), Centre d'Art Contemporain in Geneva (1998), Serpentine Gallery in London (2000), Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2001), Sala de Exposiciones de la Fundación "la Caixa" in Madrid (2001), and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago (2003). In 1997, she was awarded the Turner Prize. Wearing lives and works in London.