In a world oversaturated by images, Wearing explores the complexities of identity.


Best known for her photographic and video works that intimately capture aspects of our familial and personal histories, Gillian Wearing (b. 1963, Birmingham, UK) continues to explore the nuances of identity, the intersections of public and private, and the performativity of self. Wearing’s monumental photographic installation Rock ’n’ Roll 70 (2015) is a site-specific commission for the Sandra and Gerald Fineberg Art Wall, and the first presentation in Boston of the celebrated artist’s work. Using a self-portrait, Wearing asked individuals working with age-progressing technology to digitally enhance portraits of the artist to see what she might look like at age 70. Printed as wallpaper, these aged portraits show the diversity of possibilities of the artist’s future self. They differ slightly or immensely from each other, revealing the limitations of pioneering technology, and how identity can be pictured. On top of the wallpaper hangs a framed triptych of photographic portraits, consisting of the artist at her current age, an enhanced portrait, and a blank last space, as Wearing intends to make a self-portrait when she turns 70. In a world oversaturated by images, particularly “selfies,” Wearing explores the complexities of identity as mediated through technology.