|THE OPENING is all about delving into the fascinating, quirky and wonderful visual arts in Vancouver. Each week we’ll feature an artist, cover an exhibition, discuss a lecture and everything else in-between to delve deep into who and what makes art happen!|
It’s a simple premise: Gillian Wearing is dancing. But not in a club, on stage, or in somebody’s bedroom as her favourite record plays: she is dancing to the noise of a hundred people milling about in the middle of a shopping arcade, floppy-limbed but energetic, endearing in her total abandon. The video is discoloured and grainy, her mode of dress undeniably nineties. Mounted on the very same equipment that showcased the work at the Vancouver Art Gallery following her ’97 Turner Prize win, Gillian Wearing’s Dancing In Peckham (1997) seems firmly dated.
The questions that Dancing in Peckham raises about how individuals remain discrete within a community are, however, just as relevant today. Most passers-by caught in-frame ignore Wearing with determination, as if to avoid encouraging her with a glance. There is something ritualistic, and even a little taboo, about Wearing’s wild movements as the lone instigator within a stream of hurrying people. Currently being exhibited around the corner from the crossroads of poverty and yuppiedom in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, Dancing in Peckham makes us think about privilege, deviance, and social invisibility as well.