CINDY SHERMAN "UNTITLED (HOMAGE TO CLAUDE CAHUN)" 1975
Since the late 1970s Cindy Sherman has donned an array of personas and costumes to explore how women are perceived and presented in Western culture.
Sherman's "Untitled Film Stills" is a masterpiece of the 20th century; a major body of work that ushered in a generation of appropriation and criticism of iconography, gender, and cinema tropes.
The seminal series expanded the artistic potential of the photographic medium by using image-making to engage with dialogues of feminist and post-modern theories.
In this pseudo-self portrait, Sherman assumes the persona of Claude Cahun, pioneer of self-portraiture and the French surrealist movement. Like Sherman, Cahun’s interdisciplinary and political art practice explored notions of gender performance, using masquerade and costumes to play with identity construction for the camera.
Close-cropped and black and white, Sherman highlights the artists’ signature French mime makeup and confrontational gaze. She holds a piece of silk fabric tightly bound at her chin.
Attention to set, costume and makeup characteristically masks the artist’s own identity, emphasizing the malleability of the human persona and narrative power of photography. Sherman’s practice consistently explores how gender is depicted in visual culture, the domestic realm, fashion magazines, film, and here, in art history.
There is an inherent proximity to "drag" in Sherman's practice. Yet remarkably, with the exception of her Old Master works from the 1990s, Sherman has only disguised herself as a man in a small number of images. This work is one of the exceptional occurrences where the artist becomes an androgynous character.
Claude Cahun famously wrote, “Under this mask, another mask. I will never finish removing all these faces.”
Sherman’s work is represented in every major public collection including SFMoMA, Tate Gallery (London), and Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC).
To learn more about the "Untitled Film Stills," which was acquired in its entirety by the MoMA In 1996, click here.
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"Untitled (Homage to Claude Cahun)"
USA, 1979; printed 2004
Signed, numbered and dated by the artist
Edition of 225
Gelatin silver print
7"H 4.5"W (image)
Very good condition
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