A Play of Selves // Cindy Sherman

“I think people are more apt to believe photographs, especially if it’s something fantastic. They’re willing to be more gullible. Sometimes they want fantasy. Even if they know it’s fake they can believe anything. People are accustomed to being told what to believe in.” – Cindy Sherman

 

“The Fortune Teller” watch pendant –

Madame de Pompadour (née Poisson) dinner service –

……….A play of selves.

……….Centerfolds.

……….Transformations.

……….Carte blanche.

 

Doll with mask.

Woman in sundress.

……….Working girl.

……….Office killer.

 

________________

 

* Cindy Sherman purposefully does not title much of her work in order to leave interpretations open, so in order to create a fuller poem, I’ve included titles of not only her photography but also her film and publications.

 

Cindy Sherman - Me, myself and I

Cindy Sherman established her reputation—and a novel brand of uncanny self-portraiture—with her “Untitled Film Stills” (1977-80), a series of 69 photographs of the artist herself enacting female clichés of 20th-century pop culture. Though her work continually re-examines women’s roles in history and contemporary society, Sherman resists the notion that her photographs have an explicit narrative or message, leaving them untitled and largely open to interpretation. “I didn’t think of what I was doing as political,” she once said. “To me it was a way to make the best out of what I liked to do privately, which was to dress up.” Always in meticulous costumes, wigs, and makeup, Sherman has produced series in which she dresses as women from history paintings, fashion, and pornography. In the late 1980s and into the ’90s, she expanded her focus to more grotesque imagery, like the mutilated mannequins of her “Sex Pictures” (1992). [Artsy]

 

Cindy Sherman (American, b. 1954) is widely recognized as one of the most important and influential artists in contemporary art. Throughout her career, she has presented a sustained, eloquent, and provocative exploration of the construction of contemporary identity and the nature of representation, drawn from the unlimited supply of images from movies, TV, magazines, the Internet, and art history. Working as her own model for more than 30 years, Sherman has captured herself in a range of guises and personas which are at turns amusing and disturbing, distasteful and affecting. To create her photographs, she assumes multiple roles of photographer, model, makeup artist, hairdresser, stylist, and wardrobe mistress. With an arsenal of wigs, costumes, makeup, prosthetics, and props, Sherman has deftly altered her physique and surroundings to create a myriad of intriguing tableaus and characters, from screen siren to clown to aging socialite. [MoMA]

Cindy Sherman on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cindy_Sherman

Cindy Sherman’s work on artsy: https://www.artsy.net/artist/cindy-sherman