This portrait is an attempt to become, rather than to paint, another person. Wearing was in the Royal Festival Hall, she remembers, and a jazz band was playing. She wasn’t listening to the jazz but “just wandering around” when she saw a woman dancing madly by herself. “This woman caught my eye. She was completely separate. She was dancing not in sync with the music at all. She was caught in the moment.”
She was gripped by the image of someone just going crazy, behaving in a public place as they might in their own bedroom. “Sometimes when I see someone it goes through my head endlessly.” She thought of asking this woman if she could film her but instead set out to re-create the scene.
Since her extraordinary behaviour is at odds with the everyday setting, we are invited to reflect on the discrepancy between what goes on inside our heads and how we usually present ourselves in public.
Wearing suggests that the face we present to the world has a mask-like quality. By confronting this head-on, she captures the psychology behind the public persona. Artifice yields authenticity.