Assignment 1: Artist Research; Gillian Wearing and Deborah Guzmán Meyer – 150 MC

For both artists, I’m taking inspiration from them for two reasons: Firstly I’m looking at the idea of “confession” from them, but secondly the idea of there being two parts to a picture.

So lets start with confession then. In an interview with The Brooklyn Rail, Wearing stated that her series Signs that Say What You Want Them to Say and Not Signs that Say What Someone Else Wants You to Say was “…confessional in a way because I approached people on the street and asked them to write something on a piece of paper.” She was quite shocked by this, because she hadn’t even thought about them going deep into their personal lives at all; it was something completely unexpected. She personally thought “…the pieces that seem to work are when you do sense someone confessing something.”

'Everything is connected in life...' 1992-3 by Gillian Wearing OBE born 1963[1]

GW_Image-03 [2]

Meyer on the other hand follows also on an idea of confession, but shows it in a different style in Fact and Fiction in portraiture. The people she photographs all have a portrait of their daily lives on the left, but the right side shows a picture of the lives they would love to live.

DeborahGMeyer [3]

And if look at social pressures, there’s hardly any chance at all to confess what we really think. Many people try to give reasons why they may not want to do something; most of time these are accepted without any complaint, yet there is the odd occurrence when someone might be to insistence on something. Hence why someone will probably get pressured into doing something.

So what might be interesting to show in my pictures is that, is the person showing themselves either accepting or denying his choice. But maybe it could be interesting to have the two pictures side by side?

And that point leads on the second idea of there being two parts to a picture. With Gearing’s pictures we have the portrait of any normal person, yet the card they are holding adds another dimension to the picture.  GW_Image-02 [4]

If we look at the picture I’m Desperate the man is in a suit, so we could assume he is well off and doing well for himself. But for him to write “I’m Desperate” it leaves a lot of un-answered question for us: Does he have a job any more, or is he desperate for something else? There’s that other side we don’t know which makes us long for more.

The same goes for Meyer as well. Here she shows us the normal person,  but then the picture completely flips to another identify, so again we have to ask ourselves why do they want to be like this? Is there life so boring they want to escape it? Is dressing up their way of release? And it all comes back to the viewer asking themselves these questions about these people we don’t know, as most people are quite nosey and want to know what’s happening.

BethanyFinal BethanyFictionFinal [5]

So if we bring it back to social pressures, I would like to make the viewer ask these questions. Make them stop and think: why is this action so important it is being photographed? For example, if we saw someone taking drugs, do we assume that this person takes them on a regular occurrence? Or do think are they being forced to do this? And then you could switch to drinking; if someone is rejecting a drink, what’s their reasons for it? Have they had too much? Are they just a non-drinker? ON a diet? A recovering alcoholic?

It’s like I said before on my blog; I can’t make my pictures too obvious at all. If they are obvious, what is the point in taking them? Yes they should still be simple and not going over the top, but there should be something in them that makes us question the picture even more.


[1] Wearing G, Signs that say what you want them to say and not Signs that say what someone else wants you to say, (Everything is connected in life the point is to know it and to understand it) 1992-3
[2] Wearing G, Signs that say what you want them to say and not Signs that say what someone else wants you to say (Help), 1992-3
[3] Guzman Meyer D, Fact and Fiction, [Online] Available from <>, Slide 3
[4] Wearing G, Signs that say what you want them to say and not Signs that say what someone else wants you to say (I’m Desperate), 1992-3
[5] Guzman Meyer D, Fact and Fiction, [Online] Available from <>, Slide 5

Artcritical Furtive Moves: Gillian Wearing’s Identities and Sara VanDerBeek’s Dancers, William Corwin Saturday, July 7th, 2012 [Online] available from <>
White Hot Magazine, Gillian Wearing, Sophie Risner April 2012; [Online] available from <>
The Brooklyn Rail, GILLIAN WEARING with William Corwin, September 3rd, 2012; [Online] available from <>
The New Yorker, Picture Desk: Gillian Wearing, Siobhán Bohnacker, October 3, 2013; [Online] available from <>
Deborah Guzman Meyer Official Website, [Online] available from <>


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s