Studying Cindy Sherman's Portraiture

London's about to get treated this coming summer as the National Portrait Gallery will showcase legendary photographer Cindy Sherman's series Untitled Film Stills. The series will on public display for the very first time in the retrospective, Cindy Sherman.

Cindy Sherman Untitled Film Still #21, 1978, Gelatin silver print, 8 x 10 inches, 20.3 x 25.4 cm

Opening on 27 June this year, the exhibition will showcase a chronological display of Sherman's artistic work from the mid-1970s to now. The American artist's been mostly known for her conceptual portraits, but it was her black and white series named Untitled Film Stills that gained her recognition.

Untitled Film Stills is a collection of 60 monochromatic photographs that subvert female stereotypes found in 1970s media at the time. It was her first major artistic statement. Sherman also plays as a model in the series, her wearing various costumes and hairstyles that were trendy across the times of the 1950s and 1960s Hollywood – film noir, B movies, and European arthouse films come to mind. Through those portraits, Sherman's series is sort of a documentary of women in classic cinema.

Cindy Sherman Untitled Film Still #15, 1978, Gelatin silver print, 10 x 8 inches. Both images Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York

The show will focus on Sherman's work principle and principle to create her images. Exhibition curator and writer Paul Moorhouse praised Sherman's ability to manipulate her own appearance to mesh with her work:

"Cindy Sherman’s art is completely distinctive. By inventing fictitious characters and photographing herself in imaginary situations, she inhabits a world of pure appearance. No other artist interrogates the illusions presented by modern culture in such a penetrating way – or scrutinizes so tellingly the façades that people adopt. Probing the elusive connection between appearance and meaning, her work explores contemporary life – and with sharp observation exposes its deceptions."

Along with Untitled Film Stills, the show will feature around 180 works from the artist, coming from both public and private collections globally. Key works that make up the artistry of Sherman as both filmmaker and photographer, such as the Cover Girl series, Rear Screen Projections, Centrefolds, History Portraits, Fairy Tales, Sex Pictures, Masks, Headshots, Clowns and Society Portraits will be up for viewing as well.

Cindy Sherman Cover Girl (Vogue), 1975/2011, 3 gelatin silver prints, 1/2 x 8 inches (each image size), 26.7 x 20.3 cm Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York

The show will run through 15 September, so make sure to mark your calendars and visit the National Portrait Gallery in London. For more information, visit the NPG's website.

written by cielsan on 2019-03-09

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