Posts Tagged ‘quotation

15
Dec
08

Review: ‘Cindy Sherman’ at Metro Pictures Gallery, New York

Exhibition dates: 15th November – 23rd December 2008

 

Cindy Sherman (American, b. 1954) 'Untitled #466' 2008

 

Cindy Sherman (American, b. 1954)
Untitled #466
2008
Chromogenic print
254.3  x 174.6cm

 

 

The artist Cindy Sherman is a multifaceted evocation of human identity standing in glorious and subversive Technicolor before the blank canvas of her imagination. Poststructuralist in her physical appearance (there being no one Cindy Sherman, perhaps no Sherman at all) and post-photographic in her placement in constructed environments, Sherman challenges the ritualised notions of the performative act – and destabilises perceived notions of self, status, image and place.

The viewer is left with a sense of displacement when looking at these tableaux. The absence / presence of the artist leads the viewer to the binary opposite of rational / emotional – knowing these personae and places are constructions, distortions of a perceived reality yet emotionally attached to every wrinkle, every fold of the body at once repulsive yet seductive.

They are masterworks in the manner of Rembrandt’s self portraits – deeply personal images that he painted over many years that examined the many identities of his psyche – yet somehow different. Sherman investigates the same territories of the mind and body but with no true author, no authoritative meaning and no one subject at their beating heart. Her goal is subversive.

As Roy Boyne has observed, “The movement from the self as arcanum to the citational self, has, effectively, been welcomed, particularly in the work of Judith Butler, but also in the archetypal sociology of Pierre Bourdieu. There is a powerful logic behind this approbation. When self-identity is no longer seen as, even minimally, a fixed essence, this does not mean that the forces of identity formation can therefore be easily resisted, but it does mean that the necessity for incessant repetition of identity formation by the forces of a disciplinary society creates major opportunities for subversion and appropriation. In the repeated semi-permanences of the citational self, there is more than a little scope for counter-performances marked, for example, by irony and contempt.”1

Counter performances are what Sherman achieves magnificently. She challenges a regularised and constrained repetition of norms and as she becomes her camera (“her extraordinary relationship with her camera”) she subverts its masculine disembodied gaze, the camera’s power to produce normative, powerful bodies.2 As the viewer slips ‘in the frame’ of the photograph they take on a mental process of elision much as Sherman has done when making the images – deviating from the moral rules that are impressed from without3 by living and breathing through every fold, every fingernail, every sequin of their constructed being.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

.
Many thankx to Metro Pictures Gallery for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

  1. Boyne, Roy. “Citation and Subjectivity: Towards a Return of the Embodied Will,” in Featherstone, Mike (ed.,). Body Modification. London: Sage, 2000, p. 212
  2. “To the extent that the camera figures tacitly as an instrument of transubstantiation, it assumes the place of the phallus, as that which controls the field of signification. The camera thus trades on the masculine privilege of the disembodied gaze, the gaze that has the power to produce bodies, but which itself has no body.”
    Butler, Judith. Bodies That Matter. New York: Routledge, 1993, p. 136
  3. “Universal human nature is not a very human thing. By acquiring it, the person becomes a kind of construct, built up not from inner psychic propensities but from moral rules that are impressed upon him from without.”
    Goffman, Erving. Interaction Ritual: Essays on Face-to-Face Behaviour. London: Allen Lane, The Penguin Press, 1972, pp. 44-45

 

 

Rembrandt van Rijn

 

Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 1606-1669)
Self-portrait as the apostle Paul (left)
1661
Self-portrait as Zeuxis laughing (right)
1662

 

Cindy Sherman (American, b. 1954) 'Untitled #464' 2008

 

Cindy Sherman (American, b. 1954)
Untitled #464
2008
Chromogenic print
214.3 x 152.4cm

 

 

For her first exhibition of new work since 2004, Cindy Sherman will show a series of colour photographs that continues her investigation into distorted ideas of beauty, self-image and ageing. Typical of Sherman, these works are at once alarming and amusing, distasteful and poignant.

Working as her own model for more than 30 years, Sherman has developed an extraordinary relationship with her camera. A remarkable performer, subtle distortions of her face and body are captured on camera and leave the artist unrecognisable to the audience. Her ability to drastically manipulate her age or weight, or coax the most delicate expressions from her face, is uncanny. Each image is overloaded with detail, every nuance caught by the artist’s eye. No prosthetic nose or breast, fake fingernail, sequin, wrinkle or bulge goes unnoticed by Sherman.

Sherman shoots alone in her studio acting as author, director, actor, make-up artist, hairstylist and wardrobe mistress. Each character is shot in front of a “green screen” then digitally inserted onto backgrounds shot separately. Adding to the complexity, Sherman leaves details slightly askew at each point in the process, undermining the narrative and forcing the viewer to confront the staged aspect of the work.

Press release at Metro Pictures Gallery

 

Installation view of 'Cindy Sherman' exhibition at Metro Pictures Gallery, New York, 2008

 

Installation view of Cindy Sherman exhibition at Metro Pictures Gallery, New York, 2008

 

Cindy Sherman (American, b. 1954) 'Untitled' 2008

 

Cindy Sherman (American, b. 1954)
Untitled
2008
Chromogenic print
148.6 x 146.7cm

 

Cindy Sherman (American, b. 1954) 'Untitled' 2008

 

Cindy Sherman (American, b. 1954)
Untitled
2008
Chromogenic print
177.8 x 161.3cm

 

Cindy Sherman (American, b. 1954) 'Untitled #468' 2008

 

Cindy Sherman (American, b. 1954)
Untitled #468
2008
Chromogenic colour print
191.8 x 151.1cm

 

 

The society portraits made in 2008 portray older women in opulent settings wearing expensive clothes, their faces stretched and enhanced unnaturally, showing signs of cosmetic surgery. These markers point to cultural standards of beauty and wealth, and here signal the failed aspiration to sustained youth. Printed large, presented in decorative and often gilded frames, and depicting figures in formal poses, these works are reminiscent of Sherman’s history portraits and classical portraiture in general. In this way, they remind the viewer that representation is not a new phenomenon, and the cultural implications in all images are tied to long and complex histories. In Untitled #468 the figure stands stoically with arms crossed and mouth slightly agape, wearing a fur, silk scarf, and white gloves, which the artist found at thrift shops. In the background, an ornate building mirrors the elaborate dress of the woman.

The perspective of the building does not align with that of the figure, blatantly breaking the illusion of reality and recalling Sherman’s 1980 series of rear-screen projections. This clear and deliberate artificiality indicates that images, characters, and even our own selves are constructed, not fixed.

Anonymous text. “Untitled #468,” on The Broad website Nd [Online] Cited 09/06/2022

 

Cindy Sherman (American, b. 1954) 'Untitled' 2008

 

Cindy Sherman (American, b. 1954)
Untitled
2008
Chromogenic print
244.5 x 165.7cm

 

 

Metro Pictures Gallery

This gallery has now closed

Metro Pictures Gallery website

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03
Dec
08

Book: Daniel Dorling, Mark Newman and Anna Barford ‘The Atlas of the Real World: Mapping the Way We Live’

December 2008

 

The Atlas of the Real World

 

 

In Atlas of the Real World, global inequities in the third millennium are mad strikingly visible. The book uses a clever mapping formula, massive amounts of data and a whole lot of computer power to produce 366 maps that stretch, twist and shrink the boundaries of nations according to how much they have of whatever is being mapped: money, disease, doctors, televisions, endangered animals …

The atlas (which builds on the free maps available at the website worldmapper.org) uses the simplest means to get across the most profound facts. Each country is brightly colour-coded and the maps are overlaid on a natural-looking ocean bed. The effect is a little like looking into a funfair mirror – you know what you’re seeing, but it takes a moment to work out what’s happened to it …

In the most extreme cases, the map no longer looks like the planet Earth: the map of people killed by volcanoes (302) shows two large round islands – Colombia and North Africa – and a small atoll of shrunken Asian nations …

They’re not really maps in the old-fashioned sense, but visual renderings of complex and sometimes frightening realities, perfectly suited to our supposedly post-literate age … As a wake up call, it’s not quite on the level of the first photograph of the Earth from space – the “blue marble” that inspired a generation of environmentalists. But it’s a reminder that everything we do, from fighting wars (map 318) to selling toys (129, 130), we do on the planet.

In visual form, statistics that seem like abstract numbers are transformed into a reality that can be as ugly as an Africa swollen with HIV cases (269), as hopeful as strong worldwide growth in education (226), or as simple as the fact America, and the rest of the West, could stand to go on a diet.

Jenny Sinclair1

 

1. Sinclair, Jenny. “Inequality unfolds in warped world,” in A2, The Age newspaper, Melbourne. Saturday November 29th 2008.

 

Daniel Dorling, Mark Newman and Anna Barford
The Atlas of the Real World: Mapping the Way We Live
416 pages
Thames and Hudson 2008

 

 

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23
Nov
08

Quotation: Paul Virilio ‘The Vision Machine’

November 2008

 

Empirically acknowledged as tragic, the photographic print was really just that when, at the turn of the century, it became the instrument of the three great authorities over life and death (the law, the army, medicine). This is when it demonstrated its power to reveal the unfolding of a destiny from the word go. As deus ex machina [an unexpected power or event saving a seemingly hopeless situation], it was to become just as ruthless for the criminal, the soldier or the invalid, the conjunction between the immediate and the fatal only becoming more solid, inevitably, with the progress of representation.”

.
Virilio
, Paul. The Vision Machine (trans. Julie Rose). Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994, p. 43.

 

 

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23
Nov
08

Quotation: Michael Leunig. ‘Curly Word’ 2008

November 2008

 

“There can be many reasons to travel, but wandering into the world for no particular reason is a sublime madness, which in all its whimsy and pointlessness may depict the story of life – and indeed could be a useful model to keep in mind, seeing as so much of life’s ambition comes unstuck or leads to nothing much at all.

But though we may wander aimlessly, thinking ourselves happily adrift and carefree for a while, we may nonetheless be moving towards some particular, unimaginable moment: a pothole in the path, a sprained wrist and savagely twisted ankle, a glimpse of death on a sunny morning, a sudden revelation or embrace; events and forces large or small that will change out lives forever.

And though our trains may run on time and all roads be found and connections made, we are also guided and beguiled by an unconscious map of all our fears and foibles, and we are moving in accordance with the schedule of wild, astounding fate. Yet somehow … it is better to hobble than to arrive.

 

Michael Leunig (Australian, b. 1945)
“Curly Word”
A2 Culture. The Age newspaper
Saturday November 1st 2008, p. 16

 

 

Michael Leunig on Wikipedia

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, an art and cultural memory archive, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

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Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Orphans and small groups’ 1994-96 Part 2

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