Will Britain get through this recession

Gillian Wearing1992/1993

British Council

British Council
London, United Kingdom

Wearing’s work demonstrates a complex understanding of the alternately comic and tragic experiences of everyday life. She uses the techniques of documentary photography, film and television to frame the concerns, words and actions of ordinary people, often in everyday situations, slightly and often subtly displaced in context. This repositioning creates an uneasy sense in the viewer - it forces us to question our preconceptions in the face of the image Wearing presents to us.

Her ongoing concern with individualism within society is also present in Signs that say what you want them to say and not Signs that say what someone else wants you to say (1992-3). In this series, the artist asked random passers-by if they would agree to note down their thoughts on a piece of paper and to be photographed holding them. Contrary to social documentary photojournalism the artist attempts to actively involve her protagonists in order to challenge social stereotypes and assumptions. In Will Britain get through this recession, a man expresses his concerns over how long it may take the for country’s economy to recover. Here Wearing gives an individual a platform for self-expression, and the result underlines her personal interest in social belonging.


  • Title: Will Britain get through this recession
  • Creator: Gillian Wearing
  • Creator Lifespan: 1963
  • Creator Nationality: British
  • Creator Gender: Female
  • Creator Birth Place: Birmingham, UK
  • Date Created: 1992/1993
  • Physical Dimensions: w920 x h1220 cm
  • Type: Photograph
  • Rights: © Courtesy the artist and Maureen Paley, London., © Courtesy the artist and Maureen Paley, London.
  • External Link: http://collection.britishcouncil.org/collection/search/9/0/object/49477/0
  • Medium: R-Type colour photograph
  • Acquisition: British Council Collection

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