Cindy Sherman represents a story where she is the only protagonist. It is the story of a girl from New Jersey who has reached the pinnacle of the Mecca of art and become an iconic artist of our century.
Right now at the MoMA in New York there is a retrospective exhibition of Cindy Sherman, a woman who portrays herself in every way possible. American culture media says it’s an exhibition that will make history. It engages the general audience; just like it should be.
With some help with garments and wigs, makeup techniques, accessories and masks, Sherman shows the role she has played in her over thirty-five year long career. During this time she has successfully showed the stereotypes of most women.
Her career began in the 1970s with black and white photographs titled “Untitled Film Stills”. It was quiet scenes where she portrays a woman lost in frames of non-existing movies. The disturbing scenarios and her female characters led her to embody different roles, to identify herself as a housewife, spurned lover, lost tourist or a girl seduced and abandoned in a motel room.
Artists don’t become recognized if they repeat themselves, and Sherman always gives a twist to her work. Eventually she changed to colour and large formats, with a dizzying variety of topics breaking all conventions: from fashion, art history, pornography, women’s history, portraits, fairy tales and horror films.
She is an expert in the manipulation of space, scale and colour. She works in the solitude of her studio without assistants. The shots are always taken in her studio even when they seem to be outdoors; something unusual these days when many artists leave it to assistants carry out their ideas. What we see in a picture of Sherman is what she put there deliberately and decisively.
In her later work she boldly plays with her own aging and is portrayed in the role of a seemingly boring bourgeois lady. The artist is always her own model and the results are marked by a sense of irony and caricature, and end up being anything but simple portraits.
In the exposition Sherman reminds us that the modern spectacle is primarily a portrait of ourselves that is not quite real, that inspires her ceaselessly. She tries not to repeat herself, to go deeper and further. Her relentless, generous, imaginative and insightful gaze is everywhere.
She is the makeup artist, hairdresser, model… and an artist who reflects the society of our century. She stays away from the concept of photoshop, distorting her face and body. Her work is conceptual and a perverse contemporary story.
It is the photographic exhibition of the year. Sherman, who has earned her place in the pantheon of art, on the market and in the great museums, is shy and lacks ego. Her artistic nature could be described as provocative and contemptuous, while empathetic.