Published by Hatje Cantz. Text by Mikkel Bogh, Jacob Fabricius, Marianne Torp.
What does “family” mean today? Which notions and prejudices come to light with it? How is modern family life shaped these days? In her project A Real Danish Family, British artist Gillian Wearing (born 1963) poses these questions in ways that are both artistic and thought-provoking. The eponymous sculpture portrays a Danish family selected from 492 participating families of the most diverse composition. The exhibition Family Stories, opening for the unveiling of the sculpture in the National Gallery of Denmark (SMK) in Copenhagen, also revolves around the family as the crystallization point for human relationships. Photographs, videos and sculptures explore relatedness and identity, and include the artist’s own family as an example. In a series of “self-portraits” the artist uses masks to slip into the roles of her siblings, parents and grandparents. The publication examines Wearing’s work and the theme of the family through the lens of art history, and traces the course of A Real Danish Family, a project that boldly questions patterns of thought in society.