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THE EYES HAVE IT: GILLIAN WEARING ON DIANE ARBUS

Gillian Wearing has always emphasized her work’s affiliation with the field of documentary—for instance, with Michael Apted’s sequence of films beginning with Seven Up (1964)—over its roots in fine art. But her penchant for subjecting its documentary content to an alienating formal displacement (hiding the faces of the speakers behind masks in Confess all on video . . . , 1994, or arbitrarily mismatching face and voice in 10-16 and 2 into 1, both 1997) reflects her fundamentally poetic recognition that truth does not necessarily lie in unveiling or exposure but that concealment carries a truth of its own. No wonder, then, that she recognizes an affinity with Diane Arbus, whose ruthless exposure of her subjects was always paradoxically entwined with a sense of the psychological opacity of both subject and observer. Most recently, in remaking six portraits from among her family photos in

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