Untitled #426

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  • Condition Report

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  • Provenance

    Metro Pictures, New York
    Phillips, London, 27 June 2013, lot 6
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    London, Simon Lee Gallery, Cindy Sherman: Clowns, 26 November 2004 –15 January 2005 (another example exhibited)
    New York, Metro Pictures, Cindy Sherman, 8 May – 26 June 2005 (another example exhibited)

  • Literature

    M. Schlüter, Cindy Sherman: Clowns, Munich, 2004, p. 38 (illustrated)
    R. Durand, Cindy Sherman, Paris, Jeu de Paume, 2006, p. 224 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    '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.' Cindy Sherman

    This series of Clowns marks an incredible culmination of the masquerading that has defined Sherman’s work throughout her career. The make-believe she first explored in her Untitled Film Stills of the 1970s and 1980s is rediscovered and heightened by the increased emphasis on the mask and the make-up of the clown character. Here we see a reflection on the artist’s own artistic process, exposing both the humor and the horror of charade and fantasy. Whatever her character, from a naive 1970s movie star, to a tragic figure of entertainment, Sherman continues exploring the boundaries between photography, portraiture, and identity. Both clown and artist are figures whose actions and expressions are always subject to scrutiny, and perceived beneath a layer of mysticism that removes them from reality. More so than any other series, her exploration of this historical entertainer provides an intriguing parallel to the role of the artist, especially one whose career is ultimately defined by disguise.

  • Artist Bio

    Cindy Sherman

    American • 1954

    Seminal to the Pictures Generation as well as contemporary photography and performance art, Cindy Sherman is a powerhouse art practitioner.  Wily and beguiling, Sherman's signature mode of art making involves transforming herself into a litany of characters, historical and fictional, that cross the lines of gender and culture. She startled contemporary art when, in 1977, she published a series of untitled film stills.

    Through mise-en-scène​ and movie-like make-up and costume, Sherman treats each photograph as a portrait, though never one of herself. She embodies her characters even if only for the image itself. Presenting subversion through mimicry, against tableaus of mass media and image-based messages of pop culture, Sherman takes on both art history and the art world.

    Though a shape-shifter, Sherman has become an art world celebrity in her own right. The subject of solo retrospectives across the world, including a blockbuster showing at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and a frequent exhibitor at the Venice Biennale among other biennials, Sherman holds an inextricable place in contemporary art history.

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3

Untitled #426

signed, numbered and dated 'Cindy Sherman, 4/6, 2004' on a label affixed to the reverse of the backing board
colour photograph
201.9 x 139.1 cm. (79 1/2 x 54 3/4 in.)
Executed in 2004, this work is number 4 from an edition of 6.

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HYSTERICAL Hosted by Gary Card

London Selling Exhibition 18 July - 21 August 2019