Gillian Wearing's People
Lily Cole goes Leatherface in the name of art.
Spending a day in someone else's shoes, though more a figure of speech than an actual practice, is thought to teach one valuable lessons about the nature of human existence - so imagine what spending a day in else's face can reveal. Artist Gillian Wearing attempts to find out in her new exhibition at New York's Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, aptly titled People.
The photographic series is the latest in a run of exhibitions exploring the style and history of portrait photography and the way feeling, experiences and personalities are hidden inside the frame. Wearing plasters her own face in rubber masks to re-enact famous portraits of her idols Andy Warhol, Diane Arbus and Robert Mapplethorpe with disturbing authenticity.
The most eerie portraits in the series have to be the ones of her family - as if black and-white photographs of expressionless three-year-olds wearing high-necked lacy blouses weren't creepy enough already, there's something deeply unsettling about one with echoes of Leatherface. But our favourite metaphysical reconstruction is the mask of doll-faced model Lily Cole, worn by - you guessed it - doll-faced model Lily Cole. Do you think Wearing would let us borrow that to wear out tomorrow night?
Words: Hannah Ongley