Wearing was born in 1963 in Birmingham, England, and studied at the Chelsea School of Art and Goldsmiths College in London. In 1997 she won the Turner Prize, one of the most important and prestigious visual arts awards in Europe. Her documentary-style videos and photographs explore issues of social behavior and present intimate portraits of daily life. For this three-screen video projection, Wearing invited several of her East London neighbors into her studio and filmed their activities and behavior in black and white against a white backdrop.
The three side-by-side images fill a gallery wall and alternate between nearly life-size group scenes and single portraits. Thoroughly intoxicated, the men and women seem to totter from one projected image to another, as if crossing a stage. They stagger together and alone, fight and reconcile, cling to each other for support, lose control, stumble, fall, pass out, and sleep. Although Wearing extracted the characters from their regular surroundings and situated them in a neutral location, the stark reality is palpable.
Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights since 1980, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2007, p. 164.