STAGED PHOTOGRAPHY – Cindy Sherman and the postmodern
The young artists who rose to prominence in the late 1970s processed the visual medium itself. The fact that their images were photographs was secondary to their status as art in institutions and galleries. This shift was associated with a perception that could be called postmodern. Postmodern philosophers, critics and other thinkers challenged previous notions of truth and quality. In art, postmodern aesthetics often borrowed from other genres, such as feature movies, fashion or advertising. The flow of appropriated and processed signs and images gave rise to a discussion about authorship. The distinction between original and copy was regarded as unimportant, which influenced the view on authenticity.
Cindy Sherman belongs to a group of postmodern artists known as the “Pictures Generation”. Her oeuvre has been pivotal to ideas on identity construction, using herself in the scenes she creates for her photographs. Assuming stereotypical female roles and manipulating the external world are underlying concepts of her practice. Sherman has also used masks and prostheses in works that have stirred both attention and revulsion. Untitled #470, made during the financial crisis of 2008, is part of her series of Society Portraits.
In Talent (1986), David Robbins has chosen eighteen colleagues from his own generation and presenting their faces in a "headshot" format. Several of the portrayed artists are represented in this room. The format is of the kind used by artists when promoting themselves on a market of familiar trademarks – which is often required both in Hollywood and on the art scene.
In Before and Behind the Lens, Moderna Museet examines the role of the photographic image in art and the transformation of the medium since the early experiments of the 19th century, to today’s explorations of the potential of the optical lens. The project consists of exhibitions, talks and guided tours, throughout 2019.