Cindy Sherman: Metamorfoses

Cindy Sherman: Metamorfoses

Cindy Sherman: Metamorphosis presents a series of works that span the artist's career from her earliest work to her most recent works. The exhibition was organized in dialogue with the artist and in partnership with The Broad Art Foundation, Los Angeles, an institution that has collected in depth Cindy Sherman's work for over thirty years.

Mainly known for photographs in which she portrays herself as her own model, embodying the role of female media-influenced stereotypes in a wide range of personas and environments, Cindy Sherman shoots alone in her studio, serving as artistic director, photographer, makeup artist, hairdresser and subject. The portrait practice she began decades ago is responsible for some of the most striking and influential images in contemporary art. For this ambitious presentation in Serralves, the museum's galleries will undergo a radical transformation, creating a theatrical set to host the storyboard that the artist's photographs make up. The exhibition will also include new work, especially created for the Serralves Museum: a large photographic mural, which will give the exhibition an additional uniqueness.

Generally, the artist does not give titles to her works, trying to avoid preconceived interpretations or pre-interpretations that could influence the viewer, preferring to leave the construction of the stories to the discretion of each person. The images are, however, grouped in series and numbered and explore various themes and techniques, thus reinforcing the differentiation and classification: Untitled Film Still (1983-1984), Fashion (1983-84), Bus Rider (1976-2000), The Fairy Tales (1985), The Disasters (1986-89), The Historical Portraits (1988-90) , Sex Pictures (1992), Horror and Surrealistic Pictures (1994), Masks (1995), Broken Dolls (1999), The Hollywood/Hampton Ladies Portraits (2000), The Clowns (2003-05), Society (2008).

In the exhibition in Serralves, these series are presented with no chronological order, but rather building a narrative. In Sherman's works, individual compositions and narratives refer to a complete and complex repertoire of female identities: but while the early works are full of visible emotions, in the later photographs the emotions are gradually excluded. The works are not self-portraits, but representations perfected by the distance from the camera or lens that captures them or, as Rosalind Krauss said, they are “a copy without actually having an original”.

In the late 1980s, Sherman felt the need to suppress her presence and created unreal and grotesque images, accident scenes, made up of supernatural and terrifying characters who embodied irrational fears and nightmares and created macabre and repulsive settings. Gradually, the artist's body is replaced by fake breasts, human excrescences, bodily fluids, sexual debris, medical prostheses, which later gave rise to Sex Pictures (1992), one of her most daring series, in which Sherman arranges mannequins into pseudo-pornographic tableaux, deliberately un-erotic that challenge the porn industry standards.

The artist's return to the centre of the image took place around 2000 with the series Head Shots, where she features a series of studio portraits, or the disturbing series Clowns (2003-05) and, later, images of elderly women. If the fake or artificial body parts force the viewer to confront the staged aspect of the work, the tragic and vulgar appearance of the characters compels him to feel a certain empathy and respect for them. On the other hand, there is an evident change in the positioning of the camera, in the alteration of the sets, in the saturation and overlapping of props and extraneous elements in the composition, as well as the size of the print. Later, in the Society series (2008), Sherman continues her exploration into distorted ideals of beauty, self-image and aging in a society obsessed with youth and status through characters set in sumptuous backgrounds and presenting these photographs in ornate frames.

Sherman goes from analogue to digital and, like her characters, she experiments with various possibilities: truly natural settings in her first images, film techniques such as “rear projection”, studio photography (the place where she has greater control over the image construction), the cyclorama and finally construction images on digital backgrounds. Although her work is generally classified by critics and theorists as being associated with feminism, violence and voyeurism and focusing on representation, the artist herself tends to avoid this theoretical instrumentalization and such associations. When building a character, Sherman does not have a specific person in mind but a genre, and the complexity of the narrative is shaped in the specificity of the relationship between the setting and the character.
Cindy Sherman: Metamorfoses - Event Cindy Sherman: Metamorfoses - Event Cindy Sherman: Metamorfoses - Event Cindy Sherman: Metamorfoses - Event Cindy Sherman: Metamorfoses - Event Cindy Sherman: Metamorfoses - Event Cindy Sherman: Metamorfoses - Event


Date Date 04-10-2022
Date Time 10:00
Date Duration 8 hours
Date Location Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art
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