This series was made in 1986, while the Wiener was at the Royal College of Art in London. They have been exhibited widely and are part of the Photography Collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
To make these images he needed to photograph himself 20 times to make the expressions of the actors. These photographs were then trimmed and made into masks. The performers then wore the masks in situ, and the lighting was adjusted so that the masks appeared to fit into the surroundings, giving a 3D effect, even though the masks are flat.
William Hogarth first told this tale about Tom Rakewell, in 1733, in a set of engravings. In Hogarth’s story, the Rake is a morally bankrupt individual who squanders his father’s inheritance on women, gambling and drinking. He marries badly and ends up mad and destitute in Bedlam.
Wiener’s Rake enters life with every intention of doing "the right thing". He follows a steady course through life making all the right choices. Sadly he too ends up trapped in the modern madhouse - the living room.