In 'Sixty Minutes Silence' Gillian Wearing's working relationship with the public extends to an apparent group of policemen and women. None of the characters or individuals speaks their mind here, but instead a number of dressed-up actors spark off a collective public reaction to a familiar grouping. Here they are filmed holding still like any group of children, football players or members of a work outing, waiting sixty minutes for the artist to release them from a collective portrait.
At first the image might appear to be frozen: still, an extended snapshot, a cross-section of time. This piece is influenced, Wearing says, by the principle of time inherent to early photography where the subject had to remain still for a considerable period in order for the image to be held or captured. Yet the slightest movement, scratching of nose, folding of arms, blink, sway, fiddling and adjusting of helmet indicates how the group itself starts to disintegrate, in fact, the individuals go through some form of physical endurance test, experiencing mounting discomfort in real time.
Sasha Craddock, 'Gillian Wearing: 60 Minutes Silence', Spotlight from the Arts Council Collection broadsheet, 1998
- Artwork Details: running time: 1 hr
- Edition: Unique + 1 artists proof
- Material description: back-projection video
- Credit line: © the artist
- Medium: Film and Audio Visual
- Accession number: ACC41/1996