Gillian Wearing in Dusseldorf

An exhibition of work by photographer and film-maker Gillian Wearing at K20, Düsseldorf, Germany features Dancing in Peckham (1994), her seminal video on loan from the Government Art Collection.

Dancing in Peckham

© Gillian Wearing

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To create the video Dancing in Peckham, Gillian Wearing spent 25 minutes dancing in a shopping centre in Peckham, pretending to listen to the music of Gloria Gaynor and Nirvana although there was no music playing at all. The video documents the disinterested reaction from members of the public as most people just carry on shopping in the arcade.  Wearing has explained how the video came about:

… the original idea for Dancing in Peckham stemmed from seeing this woman dancing wildly in the Royal Festival Hall. She was completely unaware that people were mocking her… Asking her to be in one of my videos would have been patronising, so I decided to do it myself.

Although on one level this portrait is inspired by a real person, it is also one of many self-portraits that Wearing has created over the years.  In focusing on the anonymous woman's uncontrollable behaviour, Wearing reveals a fascination with the idea of what it means to be completely lost in a moment. Her work is primarily concerned with what is considered 'normal' behaviour, exploring the conflicts between 'private' and 'public' and how the individual is perceived by society.

Wearing has said that she wants 'to find out what makes people tick… I'm always trying to find ways of discovering things about people, and in the process discover more about myself.' She often uses a variety of methods to extract random thoughts or confessions from members of the public or asks them to act out banal or familiar pursuits in front of the camera.

Gillian Wearing was born in Birmingham. She studied at the Chelsea School of Art and Design before completing a degree in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College (1987 - 1990). In 1997 she won the Turner Prize, after which she had solo exhibitions at the Serpentine Gallery, London (2000) and at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (2003). Family History, a two screen projection by Wearing was shown in two flats – one in Birmingham and the other in Reading in 2006. More recently, solo exhibitions of her work include shows in Paris (2009), Los Angeles (2008) and New York (2011). Wearing lives and works in London.

This major retropective of Gillian Wearing's work is a touing show and was previously at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, it is now on at K20, Düsseldorf, Germany, 8 September 2012 – 6 January 2013; and then onto Pinakothek der Morderne, Munich January – April 2013.

Further information

K20, Düsseldorf
Grabbeplatz 5
40213 Düsseldorf

Adults € 12, concessions € 9.50
Children € 2.50

Opening hours:
Monday: CLOSED
Tuesday - Friday: 10am - 6pm
Saturday, Sunday and Holidays: 11am - 6pm
Late night opening until 10pm - 1st Wednesday of each month

T +49 (0)211 83 81-204