Cindy Sherman, relevant retrospective at the National Portrait Gallery
#LONDON Remember, in 2011, Christie’s Auction House sold the most expensive photograph in the world for 3.5 million euros: Untitled #96 created by Cindy Sherman for Artforum magazine in 1981, a record held until then by a man, Andrea Gursky.
Celebrated by the world of fashion, Cindy Sherman has worked throughout her career with the greatest brands: Balenciaga, Comme des Garçons, Vuitton and Marc Jacobs and will receive almost all the prizes that can be awarded to photographers.
However, in the 1980s, his work was far from being so popular, he was often even ousted by the editorial staff who feared that their readers would misunderstand him. Yes, ambiguity and uncertainty are at the heart of Cindy Sherman’s approach and her self-portraits are confusing: the expressions on the face are suggestive but often indecipherable and the scenes always sound a little false.
The National Portrait Gallery offers a re-reading of his work in the light of these first productions because that is where it all begins. In these prints that they began to make in the mid-1970s while she was still a student. It was there that a new genre was born that would challenge the portrait.
The starting point for a lifelong exploration of identity that spans four decades, the exhibition begins with the “Cindy book”, an image album that she makes as a teenager, each cut-out vignette of which is accompanied by a handwritten mention “it’s me!”. The approach is already unique, totally individual and already has the immediately recognizable “Sherman” leg.
The whole of this masterful retrospective obviously raises questions about the veracity of the images. And in our media-dominated, image-obsessed societies, where social media and false news are visible elements, such questions have never been more relevant.
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