Gillian Wearing uses the public's work to examine privacy and individual vs collective experience

4 May 2016
Reading Time
2 minute read

Giving over her exhibition to the public, artist Gillian Wearing’s wonderful new commission places her art in everyone’s hands, showcasing videos submitted by others. The piece, Your Views, put out an open call for video submissions from anywhere in the world that show “either curtains or blinds opening to reveal the view from a window.”

Gillian says: “The idea is that the view will be revealed like a curtain going back on a stage or at a cinema… It is important the film just registers what’s outside but does not tell a story. If you don’t have curtains or blinds then we welcome another creative way of revealing the view. Films that don’t start this way unfortunately couldn’t be accepted.”

Having gathered her submissions from the dedicated website, the artist weaved together the pieces and they are now on show at The University of Brighton Galleries as part of the city’s House Festival and Brighton Festival 2016.

“It feels personal in the way that each person has approached the instructions to the film and universal as it unites the world in the harmonious gesture of opening the curtains, blinds or shutters to give us a glimpse of their views,” says Gillian.

The piece connects to the festival’s themes of the home by drawing our attention to private spaces and their placing in a gallery setting suddenly making them public ones. Gillian has often described her practise as “editing life,” honing in on the disparities between individual and collective experiences.

The video work is contained within a little house-like structure, where viewers sit on beanbags to watch the films. In this way, the idea of collective experience comes to the fore again: we watch the films together, but in the darkness, on a beanbag, we make our own individual narratives about what we see. The films are united in their framing but reveal vastly different lives and landscapes, ranging from snowflakes in Sweden to Cristo Redentor in Rio, a field of sheep in Tonga and Accra’s traffic and bustle. It’s a hugely meditative experience, forcing contemplation on the lives of others. The magic lies in gillian’s ability to make what’s everyday for others into something exotic, making us question our own individual experiences in relation to others’.


Your Views: Boston


Your Views: Brighton


Your Views: Brussels


Your Views: Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo


Your Views: Paz, Bolivia

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About the Author

Emily Gosling

Emily joined It’s Nice That as Online Editor in the summer of 2014 after four years at Design Week. She is particularly interested in graphic design, branding and music. After working It's Nice That as both Online Editor and Deputy Editor, Emily left the company in 2016.

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