Cindy Sherman - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Friday, October 16, 2009 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Metro Pictures, New York; Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York; Private collection, New York

  • Exhibited

    Los Angeles, The Museum of Contemporary Art, November 2, 1997 - February 1, 1998; Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, February 28 - May 31, 1998; Prague, Galerie Rudolfinum, June 25 - August 23, 1998; London, Barbican Art Gallery, September 10 - December 13, 1998;  CAPC Musée d'art contemporain de Bordeaux, February 6 - April 25, 1999; Sydney, Museum of Contemporary Art, June 4 - August 29, 1999; and Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario, October 1, 1999 - January 2, 2000, Cindy Sherman: Retrospective (another example illustrated, p. 59, pl. 8); Paris, Jeu de Paume, 16 May - 3 September, 2006; Kunsthaus Bregenz, 2 December, 2006 - 28 January, 2007; Humlebeak, Louisiana Musuem of Modern Art, 9 February - 13 May, 2007; Berlin, Martin Gropius Bau, 15 June - 10 September, 2007, Cindy Sherman (another example exhibited) 

  • Literature

    P. Schjeldahl and I. M. Danoff, Cindy Sherman, Munich, 1984, pl. 7 (illustrated); A. C. Danto, Untitled Film Stills: Cindy Sherman, Munich, 1990/1998, pl. 7 (illustrated); Z. Felix and M. Schwander, eds., Cindy Sherman: Photographic Work 1975-1995, Munich, 1995, pl. 3 (illustrated); D. Frankel, ed., The Complete Untitled Film Stills: Cindy Sherman, New York, 2003, p. 126 (illustrated); Jeu de Paume, ed., Cindy Sherman, Paris, 2006, pp. 35, 241 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    'Without doubt the most important series in Cindy Sherman's early work, the seventy Untitled Film Stills create a metamorphic world in which the subject invents a succession of more elaborately constructed identities, complete with props and settings, but which are still not always necessarily entirely explicit. The subjects's jubilant 'chameleonism' appropriates a range of different worlds, ranging from the stereotypes of everyday life (the young housewife, the student) to literature, painting, and of course cinema (Italian Neorealism, or American film noir, for example). These film stills recall the photographs taken on movie sets in the 1950s and 1960s, and used to advertise forthcoming motion pictures. Their Untitled status (in common with most of Sherman's work) leaves them open to multiple interpretations. The subject is generally seen in the foreground or middle ground of the picture, as one element of a theatricalized scene in which the setting, clothes, or pose combine to create a distinctive atmosphere. Here, and in Sherman's subsequent work, the artist alternates between detailed close ups that reveal the components of the subject's 'disguise' (makeup and protheses), and wide angle images in which the figure tends to disappear beneath an array of artifacts, or to melt into the fictions created by those artifacts, according to some internal law of uncontrollable mutability, some kind of equilibrium being kept nonetheless by the sheer speed of process. The series' success lies in the tension established by the artist between our immediate recognition of a reference or stereotype (with the inevitable danger that this becomes a somewhat superficial game), and the creation of a space onto which the viewer can project his or her fictional imaginings and desires. Each scene is constructed for the viewer alone; the images are the precursors of a fictional narrative. In this sense, they function exactly like 'real' film stills, whetting the appetite and inviting the viewer to implicate him- or herself in the image, both visually and sexually.' (exhibition catalogue, Jeu de Paume, Cindy Sherman, Paris, 2006, p. 240)  

  • Artist Biography

    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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Untitled Film Still #8

Gelatin silver print.
85.1 x 104.1 cm. (33 1/2 x 41 in).
Signed, dated 'Cindy Sherman 1978' and numbered of three on the reverse. This work is from an edition of three.

£100,000 - 150,000 

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

17 Oct 2009