Three individuals hold handwritten signs that display their personal thoughts during the early 1990s economic decline in Great Britain.
Engaging with a stereotype that British people are unsociable and hostile toward people they don’t know, Gillian Wearing approached more than 500 strangers on the streets of South London. She asked them to write on blank cards the first thought or opinion that came to mind. Thoughts included funny, confessional, sentimental, witty, and scary messages, suggesting that random meetings can lead to revelatory communication and engagement. Through this project, Wearing dissociates people’s private lives from their public personas and celebrates their individuality.
—Ali Vassiliou ’23, Curatorial Intern
From the exhibition: Where Words Falter: Art and Empathy (July 9 – December 18, 2022)