FeaturedFront PageHistorical Heroines

Identity, Androgyny and Masculinity

By 9th February 2021 No Comments

Untitled #612, 2019. Dye sublimation print,66 x 100 inches (167.6 x 254 cm). © Cindy Sherman. Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York

Untitled #609, 2019. Dye sublimation print,62 1/2 x 91 1/4 inches (158.8 x 231.8 cm). © Cindy Sherman. Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York

Untitled #615, 2019. Dye sublimation print, 70 x 85 1/4 inches (177.8 x 216.5 cm). © Cindy Sherman. Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York

Cindy Sherman dressed as male feminine male playing on Identity, Androgyny and masculinity.

Untitled #611, 2019. Dye sublimation print, 91 x 107 1/4 inches (231.1 x 272.4 cm). © Cindy Sherman. Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York

So, who is the true Cindy Sherman, if not one of the 650+ characters she has embodied throughout her career? Some suggest she is cleverly hiding in plain sight. However, one only has to look at her Instagram, filled with distorted selfies, to realise that we do not know what Cindy truly looks like. Her anonymity is part of the beauty; the portraits are devoid of any vestiges of the artist herself, save her startling glare – like an ominous shaman – that emphasises the continuity of the gaze. As Cindy famously declared, “I feel I’m anonymous in my work. When I look at the pictures, I never see myself, they aren’t self-portraits. Sometimes I disappear”. These may be portraits, but they are certainly not self-portraits.

There is a temptation to research Cindy upon seeing these mysterious portraits. However, the crucial transaction of identities takes place between the viewer and the artwork, not the artist. Cindy does not want us to see her in her photographs – she wants us to see ourselves. This makes her work extremely relatable. Consciously or subconsciously, we curate an image of ourselves daily, whether it be through clothes, makeup, or social media. Through each of our morning routines, we construct ourselves into someone who is socially acceptable, but somewhat removed from our true selves. Perhaps we will all think differently the next time we pick up a makeup brush.

By Venetia Jolly

Cindy Sherman

2020 Exhibition
Metro Pictures, New York

Images courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York

X