The National Portrait Gallery exhibition will trace the photographer’s innovative self-portraits back to the mid-70s
The American artist and photographer Cindy Sherman – known best for transforming herself into various social archetypes for her innovative self-portraits – is set to have her first UK retrospective at London’s National Portrait Gallery. The exhibition will explore Sherman’s work from the mid-70s to the present day across around 180 works, incorporating her seminal series Untitled Film Stills, created in her 20s, between 1977 and 1980.
As in a lot of her work, Sherman utilises clothes and make-up in Untitled Film Stills, to blur the line between self-portraiture and fiction. “By inventing fictitious characters and photographing herself in imaginary situations, she inhabits a world of pure appearance,” explains Paul Moorhouse, the curator of the retrospective, in a press release from the gallery.
Moorhouse is also keen to stress the continuing (or even increased) importance of Sherman’s photography and its message in the present day. “No other artist interrogates the illusions presented by modern culture in such a penetrating way,” he says, “or scrutinises so tellingly the façades that people adopt.”
Nor has Sherman herself shied away from reimagining her art in a modern context. In mid-2017, she made her private Instagram public to reveal a variety of surreal and disturbing portraits (think Insta filters gone very, very wrong), alongside more regular snaps of whatever she’s been up to. She also featured in a pretty unexpected Supreme collab later in the year.
Going beyond just the artist’s work, the retrospective will also include a range of source material from her studio, giving an insight into the working process and inspirations of a career that has drawn from film, television, advertising, and fashion.
Cindy Sherman will run at the National Portrait Gallery from June 27 to September 15, 2019.