Cindy Sherman

15 June to 10 September 2007

Poster of the exhibition “Cindy Sherman”

Poster of the exhibition “Cindy Sherman”

Design: Steenbrink Vormgeving, Berlin

From June 15 until September 10, 2007 the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin will be presenting the major Cindy Sherman retrospective arranged by the Jeu de Paume in Paris. The exhibition comprises works produced by the artist between 1975 and 2005.

The American artist Cindy Sherman is one of the leading representatives of staged photography. In her photographs she uses her body as a vehicle for creating all sorts of roles and staging masquerades. By combining the roles of film director, main protagonist and photographer, she blurs the strict dividing lines between posing and viewing, between object and subject. Sherman was born in Glen Ridge, a suburb of New York, in 1954. She attended the State University of New York in Buffalo where she originally studied painting before switching to photography. During this time she got to know the artist Robert Longo. Together with Longo and Charles Clough she founded the independent art gallery Hallwalls. After graduating in 1976 Cindy Sherman decided to settle in New York, where she still lives and works. In the history of art the work of Cindy Sherman stands for a radically new way of defining the possibilities of contemporary photography.

Parodic, grotesque, and sometimes brutal, her works present a spectrum of figures based on cultural and social stereotypes in a way that calls into question the visual codes of their presentation in advertising, cinema and classical painting. The main focus is on the contemporary image of woman and the aesthetic it conveys.

Régis Durand on Cindy Sherman’s work 1975-2006

“With a few exceptions, Cindy Sherman’s works are presented both in books and in exhibitions in the form of extensive series – mostly in chronological order and documenting the way in which they belong to each other. Although there is always the possibility of overlapping and of general thematic strands (some of which are referred to below) and sometimes no clear line can be drawn between the respective series, both the chronology and the series can be seen as crucial to the work of this artist. This constellation makes it possible to grasp both the strong inner coherence and the continuous development of the work.“

Cindy Sherman’s artistic development is marked by rigour, innovation and ever greater depth. It exhibits astonishing humour and extravagance, although these also have a dark side reflecting both with the incomprehensibility of the EGO and the omnipresence of illusion and death. The work, which seems to operate on a superficial level and plays with hallucinations, withstands the critical gaze of the observer and preserves its secret. However, this secret is not suitable for those who think they can arrive at an explanation by means of a better level of information or more systematic access. It has to do, rather, with the identity of human beings, with their capacity to recognise and misjudge themselves, to portray themselves and invent parallel lives – a capacity that no other living being has.

The texts between the individual parts are intended to disclose the structure of the sequence and emphasise the great diversity. The figure which appears as an individual protagonist is often also described as the subject. The use of this term indicates that the figure is not really the artist herself (that would mean reducing her work to straightforward psychological or strictly autobiographical aspects) or any of the individual figures she presents and furnishes with a social or psychological identity, to which we are certainly to attribute credibility, however deep that may go.”

Organizer: Berliner Festspiele. An exhibition arranged by the Jeu de Paume.
Made possible by the Capital City Culture Fund.
Curators: Régis Durand (Paris), Véronique Dabin (Paris)
Ausstellungsstationen: Paris: Jeu de Paume, Berlin: Martin-Gropius-Bau, Humlebaek: Louisiana Museum for Modern Art, Bregenz: Kunsthaus Bregenz