Cindy Sherman

Cindy Sherman is a contemporary American photo artist, one of the most influential and best-selling photographers in the world. She works in a staged genre, but always acts as a model herself. Sherman believes that the only model that understands everything the photographer wants is she herself.

For 2016, her series "Untitled Film Still" topped the list of the most expensive lots in history, with a price of $ 6.77 million per collection. And in the list of 87 works of all photographs with a price higher than $ 1million, there are 15 works of Cindy.

"It always amazes me and amuses how viewers interpret my photographs. Perhaps because when I work, I never think about the meaning that people can find in them. My ideas are neither feminist nor political. I'm trying to put a few meanings into my photos, which can lead to more interpretations..."

Cindy Sherman was born in New Jersey in 1954. She grew up in a poor and big family. Cindy's creative nature manifested itself from early childhood. She loved to dress up and reconcile different images, and these were images not of princesses and beauties, but of witches and monsters. In addition, Cindy was very fond of watching films, many of which she reviewed several times, literally memorizing by heart.

Studies in a private college is an expensive pleasure and the Sherman family could not afford it. Therefore, Cindy went to state college, where she studied painting. Cindy drew well, but she was not very interested in it. She believed that in painting, she imitates the old masters, but she wanted to create.
Cindy loved to change clothes and dress up, the source of materials for such changes was a second-hand, where she found many interesting costumes. At first, Cindy used costumes for parties, but very soon she began to photograph herself in them. Using these costumes, Sherman created her first series of photographs called "Bus Riders". In this series, she took a lot of comic shots of supposedly random people in transport.

In 1977-1980 Cindy Sherman created the project "Untitled Film Stills". She came up with the idea of shooting typical female images from European and American cinema. Movies she watched and memorized, as well as her passion for creating images, helped her a lot in this project. In fact, using her knowledge of existing clichés in pop culture, Cindy created photographs very similar to shots from films, but films that do not exist. The whole project consisted of 69 small format photographs (20x25 cm). In each photo, Cindy played the role of the character of a movie. In her project Cindy investigated the place of a woman in society, her mission and influence. And it was a win-win move - she immediately attracted attention!
These photographs do not give a hint of a famous actress or some exact movie. Cindy was embodied in the faces of a lonely confused provincial woman, who found herself in a giant megapolis, an abandoned mistress, a frightened housewife in the kitchen, a sexy kitten, a cold bitch. Viewers recognized in her their favorite actresses immediately from a dozen movies, identified themselves with the characters in the pictures. This is precisely the value of the series, these photos are absolutely unique and are not tied to any particular film, director or actress.
"I like the visual style of Hitchcock, Antonioni and neo-realists.
I didn't want to see strong emotions in the photograph... There is a lot of pretense in the movies, they try to sell it to cinemas this way.
The movie is not always funny or happy, but if the hero of the film is present in the press, he always smiles. In European cinema, women had more neutral expression on their faces, and it was harder to determine what the movie was about. It seemed mysterious to me. "

The series became very popular and made Cindy Sherman famous. In 1995 the MOMA Museum acquired all 69 images for her first million. Deep analytical articles in art publications started to appear.

In the early 80s, Cindy Sherman began shooting in color. For the rest, the approaches have not changed, she continued to work with a single model - herself. Her popularity grew, photographs were bought up quite actively. In some cases, she was creating rather provocative pictures, hoping to push away buyers - but those works were also in demand by the market.

In 1990, Cindy Sherman demonstrated her new project, "History Portraits/Old Masters". The series consists of 35 photographs, on which you can recognize and see the heroes of portraits of European classical painting by such authors as Botticelli, Rafael, Caravaggio and others. Here Sherman imitates famous paintings. Moreover, to create her own images, she uses a rather rough makeup or even prostheses that she puts on her body. During two years of work on this project Sherman lived in Rome, but never visited any of the churches or the museum. To study the works of the masters, she used exclusively reproductions. She worked on a project that anyone could do anywhere...
"History Portraits/Old Masters" have become very successful commercially and have sold well. "In the end, I managed to make decent money," Cindy said.

In the last years of the past century, Cindy Sherman has created several new projects. More provocative and controversial.
The project "Sex Pictures" was created without involving living models. Cindy bought medical mannequins the size of a person, or parts and products from sex shops. She glued artificial hair, dyed it and shot various scenes with these 'models'.

Another project of those years was the "Civil War" in which Cindy shot rotting pieces of human bodies to perpetuate victims of violence. In 2006 she created a series of her photos as a clown. The series turned out to be sad and even sinister.
Around the same time, another series "Hollywood/Hampton" appeared with portraits of residents of the most expensive areas of America. Here older women, obviously wealthy looking at us.
Now Cindy Sherman is 66 years old. Leading art institutions name her one of the most famous and influential person in contemporary art. Her exhibitions are among the most visited, and reports about the fantastic sales of her works on the auction have not surprised anyone anymore.

In the ranking of ArtReview "100 most influential people in the art world 2011" Sherman took 7th place. Cindy Sherman became a legend in the art world during her lifetime. She was exhibited countless times and inspired many artists and photographers with her distinctive style.
Author Anna Laza
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