Juxtapoz Magazine: Cindy Sherman’s Digital Transformations Continue Exploring the Malleable Self


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Preeminent American artist Cindy ShermanHer latest body of work is revealed for the first time ever in the United States Hauser & Wirth’sWooster Street in New York City. The exhibition features approximately 30 new works and marks Sherman’s return to the historic SoHo district where, in the late 1970s, she debuted her now iconic Untitled Film Stills at the non-profit Artists Space, launching a career that has established her as one of the most recognized and influential artists of our time. 

Sherman’s ground-breaking work has probed themes of representation and identity in contemporary media for over four decades. Since the early 2000s she has created personae by digital manipulation. She is meditating about the increasingly fractured self in 21st century society, and continuing the artistic exploration that has characterized her work since the beginning of her career. Sherman has used digital manipulation in these new works to emphasize layered detail and highlight the malleability within the self. She has removed external context, eschewing any mise-en-scène, to focus completely on the details of the face and head. She uses a digital collage technique to combine black and white and colour photographs with more traditional transformation methods, such as make-up, costumery and wigs, in order to create a series of unsettling portraits that show women who wince, grimace, laugh and wince at the viewer.

To create these fragmented figures, Sherman photographed isolated sections of her own visage—eyes, nose, lips, skin, hair, ears—and then cut, pasted and warped them onto a foundational image, ultimately constructing, deconstructing and then reconstructing an entirely new face. Sherman, in her dual role as both photographer and subject, continues to disrupt the usual dynamic between artist-subject.

“When I’m shooting, I’m trying to get to a point where I’m basically not recognizing myself. That’s often what it’s about.”—Cindy Sherman

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