Gillian Wearing (b.1963), who won the prestigious Turner Prize in 1997, has been keenly interested in family constructs throughout her career, investigating all the issues of identity, challenges and shifts associated with the concept. (more)

Gillian Wearing. Family Stories


More about the exhibition catalogue


Exhibition opening

Read more about the exhibition opening and the unveiling of A Real Danish Family.

Gillian Wearing – Family Stories

Gillian Wearing is interested in real life. In her art she gives perfectly ordinary people a voice, examining and documenting the relationships between them. SMK now presents an exhibition featuring the Turner Prize-winning artist.

Throughout her career, British artist Gillian Wearing (b. 1963) has been keenly interested in people and in human relationships. In her works she gives perfectly ordinary people a voice – documenting private narratives, examining family constructs and exploring the boundaries between the private and the public.

She often incorporates herself or members of her family directly in her art, raising questions about how relationships with other people help shape our identity.

The exhibition shows a range of Wearing's works of art created from 1992 to the present day. They mainly consist of photographs and video pieces in which she uses image formats that are commonly seen in everyday life: family photographs, snapshots, TV shows and home videos.

"I just look for situations where there is an element of truth. People can't relate to a made-up fantasy of what a family is; they might aspire to it for themselves. But if they are to view someone else's situation then they want something that is honest," says Gillian Wearing.

Gillian Wearing, Self Portrait at 17 Years Old , 2003

The works in the exhibition all centre on families and family life. This also holds true for a new piece that specifically aims to prompt public discussion: A Real Danish Family, an art project involving 500 Danish families, a jury and large-scale public bronze sculpture representing a real Danish family.

Gillian Wearing's sculpture

Gillian Wearing set out to find “a real Danish family”, which will ultimately be depicted as a life-sized bronze sculpture erected in a central Copenhagen location.

The project was first launched in the autumn of 2016 with a campaign inviting all families in Denmark to take part in the competition to be immortalised in bronze. Around 500 families signed up, and the Danish broadcasting corporation, DR, followed the entire process: From interviews with participating families across the country to the jury’s deliberations and the final choice of the winning family. DR’s three TV programmes about the project air on 2, 9 and 16 October 2017 on DR2.

The nationwide sculpture project was carried out as a collaboration between Gillian Wearing, Kunsthal Aarhus, DR and SMK, celebrating the many different types of family found in Denmark.

The winning family and the sculpture will be revealed on 13 October 2017 at SMK, coinciding with the opening of the exhibition Gillian Wearing Family Stories.

See the project’s Facebook page

A Real Danish Family is supported by the Bikuben Foundationthe City of Copenhagen and the Danish Arts Foundation

If you're curious to learn more about her project at SMK and her other works, you can listen to this podcast by The Undergang Armchair that was made in connection with her exhibition at SMK.

Stills taken while shooting the DR TV series. Photo: Kim Wendt

Practical information

Exhibition period
13 October – 7 January 2018

Opening hours
Tuesdays – Sundays 11.00 to 17.00
Wednesdays 11.00 to 20.00
Mondays closed

One-day ticket
Adults: DKK 110
Young (u. 30): DKK 85
Children (u. 18): Free
1 adult + 1 child: DKK 90
Annual pass: Free admission
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