The Kunsthaus Zürich will play host to a major retrospective featuring American artist Cindy Sherman (b. 1954). Sherman is one of the leading exponents of staged photography. In her work she deals with issues of identity, (gender) roles and physicality, almost always using herself as the model. Now, for the first time in Zurich, the Kunsthaus is presenting a comprehensive solo exhibition of an artist who, after Andy Warhol, is the most important practitioner of self-exploration through the media of film and photography.
Cindy Sherman’s earliest works were created as far back as 1975. Preceding the celebrated ‘Untitled Film Stills’ (1977-1980), these photographs were produced by the artist at home using an external shutter release, yet they were already concerned with the issues of identity and role play that were to become central to her oeuvre. The exhibition ‘Cindy Sherman – Untitled Horrors’ will include a selection of these early and rarely shown works as well as the latest, monumental pieces that cover entire walls. Sherman references the techniques and forms of advertising, cinema and classical painting, moving freely within these creative parameters.
The principal focus of the overview, which has been compiled by the Kunsthaus together with the artist, is the threatening and grotesque. The retrospective’s subtitle, ‘Untitled Horrors’, is partly a reference to the exhibition’s content, but also a play on the fact that Cindy Sherman invariably labels her photos ‘Untitled’. She leaves it to the viewer to read the pictures in their own way, inviting them to develop the stories behind them as they see fit, and come up with their own titles.
The presentation will include all the key works from the various phases of Cindy Sherman’s artistic career. Iconic pieces from the early period, such as the famous ‘Untitled Film Stills’ series, reminiscent of images from Italian Neo-Realism and American film noir, appear alongside the later photographs of ‘Hollywood/Hampton Types’ (2000-2002), while the ‘Clowns’ (2003-2004) encounter the ‘Sex Pictures’ series from 1992. These juxtapositions reveal the remarkable consistency with which, throughout her long career, the artist has engaged with fundamental issues of human existence and repeatedly explored new avenues of formal expression. Curated by Mirjam Varadinis and created in association with the Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo, and the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, the presentation dispenses with a linear or chronological approach, choosing instead to throw new light on the oeuvre of this important artist by means of unexpected combinations.
Exhibition From 6 June to 14 September 2014 The Kunsthaus Zürich