This week saw the opening of The Crisis Commission at Somerset House, with a spectacular roster of artists including Antony Gormley, Tracey Emin, Sir Anthony Caro and Jonathan Yeo coming together to raise funds and awareness in the ongoing fight against homelessness. We spoke to one one of the stellar names taking part, Gillian Wearing, about the project and what she is exhibiting…
What work have you chosen to create/submit for this show and why?
It’s a small sculpture/monument of an ex-soldier called Craig who turned to drink when trying to adjust back to civilian life, this eventually led to him becoming homeless. He states on the plaque below the bronze statue of him that he thought his life was over and he was finished.
I think anyone can relate to that, when there becomes a moment in their lives when they become unstuck, and of course when you lose all your money and become homeless you are incredibly vulnerable. But the work is also about hope as Craig turned his life around with the aid charity in this case Veteran’s Aid, and now he is a volunteer tutor at Crisis.
At the end of the plaque he says that “it is important to give more than you receive” for which he is a testament to that fact.
Why was this a cause you were keen to support? Do you feel that artists have a duty to engage with socio-politcial concerns?
In moments of economic strife more people are losing their jobs and could find themselves homeless. I imagine for homeless charities like Crisis it also becomes harder to raise money in a climate like this, so I really hope that works raise a good sum of money for this vital cause.
I think we all have a duty regardless of our jobs or backgrounds. From my experience artists tend to be generous when it comes to supporting charities or causes.
Some of the YBAs have re-invented themselves over recent years and become national treasures – what’s your feelings about this?
That’s great, why not? Art has had a bad name for so long in this country.
The show runs until April 22.
- Submit Saturdays: eggs, gifs and monochromatic illustration from Illustrator Jocelyn Tsaih
- Boot Boyz Biz: promoting community, not commodity
- Waving goodbye to July with our weekly Best of the Web
- The classical and the crude combine to represent the multiple facets of The Arab City
- Parquet Courts’ Andrew Savage on the interchanging influence of art and music
- Thee Drinkers: New exhibition conveys the joys and despair of having a few too many
- Benedict Redgrove’s beautifully hypnotic film about how a tennis ball is created
- Tommy Cash subverts the tropes of rap videos with a fleshy celebration of the human body (NSFW)
- Ian Davis’ picturesque paintings of bureaucratic dystopia
- Is it ever OK to work for free?
- Pentagram unveils refresh of Mastercard’s brand mark and identity
- Peter Saville and Tate Design Studio create beer can artwork for Switch House pale ale