Cindy Sherman: Early Works @Gucci Museo in Florence January 11 – June 9 2013
A crowded space at the glamorous Museo Gucci in Florence hosted the launch of Cindy Sherman: Early Works, a new project curated by jewellery designer Francesca Amfitheatrof, thanks to Francois Pinault, as the third contemporary art exhibition organised in the new Florentine iconic venue.
The exhibition’s preview was included in the programme of events at the winter edition of Pitti Immagine, the Florence Fashion Week.
The body of work on show dates back to the ’70s, round the time of Sherman’s graduation at the Buffalo State University College in 1976, and comprises of three major works: Murder Mystery – 1976/2000, Bus Riders – 1978/2000 and Doll Clothes – 1975. The original cutout photographs of the first 2 creations were lost, however in 2000 Sherman reprinted both as a series of complete images.
Murder Mystery People had been originally conceived as a storyboard of a film, whose characters were shown in 82 scenes of a fictitious crime movie; the original display of the cutouts was hung around the exhibition space in order to recreate the rhythm of a movie, while in the current show only 17 black and white reprints of the original photos are shown.
Bus Riders was conceived for the first Photo Bus exhibition on Metro Bus 535: Sherman transforms herself into the many characters represented in her work, as the everyday people riding a bus. She creates different narratives through the use of disguise and camouflage; she plays with make up, poses and masquerading to investigate the construction of identity as well as the essence of representation.
The animated film Doll Clothes from 1975 is centred on Sherman as a cutout figure in her underwear trying out different clothes: an oversized hand appearing in the frame seizes the figurine and strips her off, then it places her back in a plastic sleeve. The overhanging hand epitomizes society with its power to direct women’s lives and affect their choices, as an external force capable of influencing a woman’s identity and personality.
Cindy Sherman is a pioneer of photography as an art form. Working alone and acting both as actor and director, she portrays characters using herself as the object and with the use of makeup and clothes she literally transforms herself into the subjects whose story she explores.